Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rollin' in the Dough

Let's face it folks, if you live anywhere North of, say, the 35th parallel you are in what can be referred to as the 'Dog Days of Winter' (hey, even L.A. saw recent snow). Here at our house, the weather outside has been frightful. And, though work cancellations are delightful...not being able to place Lukas in daycare for a bit of playtime with his buddies has brought on a serious bought of cabin fever for all of us.

So, with all the local playrooms closed due to the weather and us not wanting to venture out into the biting cold for a walk or stroll, Mrs. LIAYF had the great idea of making playdough. I hadn't known that you could make it at home, and surprisingly enough to me, it turned out to be just what the boredom doctor ordered.

Lukas was as concentrated with the whole process - from mixing and making the dough, to playing with it - as we have seen him in quite some time. We had everything we needed around the house to make it, and he had a ton of fun using cookie cutters, baking tins, and utensils to shape and form the finished dough. It kept him occupied for nearly an hour! That's a toddler eternity.

So, if you have a young kid or two and need something to do, consider making some dough. Mrs. LIAYF found this recipe on the web, but you could do some research of your own.

Playdough Recipe (need one bowl of these ingredients for each color)
1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1/4 cup salt
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar




Mix each bowl of dry ingredients well. In a separate measuring cup combine 1/3 cup boiling water (or just hot water if working with toddlers), food coloring and 1/2 Tablespoon oil. Add this entire mixture to each bowl of dry ingredients and knead well (add more flour or salt if too sticky). Seal in plastic container or ziplock bag to store. Will last longer in the refrigerator.

This playdough is non-toxic, but too salty to taste good to a kid. However, if you get snowed in and can't make it to the grocery store it might go well with beer and pretzels. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Every little boy needs trains . . .

video

This is what it's all about.

(You may notice that this clip abruptly ends. This is because I made the mother of all photographic Faux Pas and busted the camera on Christmas morning! All is better now that the camera has been exchanged and we are once again prepared for life's Kodak moments.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ok, I'll Play Along

But only this one time. I was tagged by Diane, over at the Mommy Diaries to do an impromtu game of "Gotcha". After an early evening of sledding with Lukas, Mrs. LIAYF, and friends, I am downstairs from Lukas' evening routine, and just checked my reader:

Enough said. Here are the rules:
1) Take a picture of yourself right NOW!
2) DON'T change your clothes, DON'T fix your hair... Just take a picture.
3) Post that picture with NO editing.
4) Post these instruction with your picture.
5)Tag 10 people to do this..

I'm only tagging 5 because I'm too lazy and don't want to take the time to do 10 links. Sorry Diane. Does this mean I get seven years of bad luck?

I'm apologizing in advance for the post-sledding look (have you seen the Seattle news? We have been snowbound for days!). Enjoy the picture!




And here are the "Lucky" tagged ones:


Eric

Jay

MTAE

VegasDad

Rob

Sorry guys. Play along only if you like.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bada Bing, Bada Boom

Ok, so perhaps folks here in the Great NW went a bit overboard with the Bing Crosby Christmas music the past few days. I believe the words to the song were "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas", not "I'm dreaming of getting totally dumped on right before Christmas".

However, all that dreaming and singing seems to be paying off in spades here in Seattle today as we have 6 inches of snow and counting since this early this morning. Oddly, Mrs. LIAYF and I were awakened at 5:00 AM by a loud rumbling Boom, preceding the start of the snow, which we later heard described as 'Thunder Snow'. A strange phenomenon that we had never heard of before.

However, we did get that "Noooo Day" that I hoped for in a recent post, as the whole of the city is pretty much shut down. My workplace, not known for making the best decisions regarding such matters decided to stay open. Then, when virtually no one showed up, they finally made the decision to turn around send those few back home. It was an exercise in futility that, thankfully, I did not partake in as I cashed in the baby card early on.

Have a great day. We are off to take Lukas sledding for the very first time. Cheers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tannenbaum

As I mentioned in Sunday's post, this past weekend was the Christmas kickoff at our house. Besides listening to Christmas albums (Rev. Horton Heat -We Three Kings is a favorite this year), putting up lights, and putting together gifts for out-of-town family, we also weathered the frigid cold to bring home the Christmas tree!

This year's tree wasn't the largest, or most symmetrical we have put up in recent years (you get much less critical when the weather is below 2o F, there is a brisk wind, and all the trees are covered with snow). But, thankfully after we arrived home and secured it in the stand, we were satisfied that this was no Charlie Brown tree either.

Mrs. LIAYF, after some pathetic begging on my part, agreed to depart from our White light only policy and add some colored lights into our Noble Fir, "For Luke's sake". Hopefully, the result will convince her that we can go with a technicolor tree next year too. I like the colors. Colors pretty.
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And, in a brilliant move on her part, Mrs. LIAYF also instructed me to hang the crappiest of the ornaments at the bottom of the tree. I, being of narrow mind, hadn't considered this while pondering the perfect placement of our ever growing stash of priceless keepsakes. The wisdom of her ways paid off right away though as Lukas, warned many times against grabbing the ornaments within his reach, couldn't help himself and subsequently damaged several of them in just a couple hours.


I snapped a quick picture of these laid out on my kitchen island. I think I am going to call it the Island of Misfit Ornaments. Most of these simply have missing strings, except the Ice Skating ornament. This one suffered the most damage, and was probably our most cherished of them all (commemorating our first date). I'm confident that it can be fixed though, as Mrs. LIAYF is licensed in Washington to carry a glue gun.
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Not included in the picture is the broken snow globe which we had to discard right away. Nothing says 'good parenting' like your 17 mo. old tugging at your pant leg so he can hand you a jagged chunk of curved, broken glass covered with wet glitter snow.

By the way, there is nothing wrong with the Robot, he just wanted to be a dentist.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Nooooo"!

Imagine a scenario where you go to bed happy, healthy, and secure only to wake up and realize that thing are different. Much different actually. This realization might just freak you out a bit. Or perhaps at least cause you to be a bit confused, right?

Lukas had just such a moment Sunday morning. Mrs. LIAYF and I were awaken by the sound of Lukas in a state that seemed to be awe mixed with disbelief. "Waooooooo!" Was the actual sound that broke our slumber at 7:00 AM Sunday morning. Followed shortly by "Was dat?" "Was dat?", "WAS, DAT?"


We entered Lukas's room to find him standing in his crib, holding out the window shade, peering out onto a Winter Wonderland. Several inches of snow had fallen overnight.

There had only been one day of snow here all last Winter, when Lukas was only a few months old. That one snow has not even been enough to stick, so this was our son's first real snow. He was in awe and very excited.

"That's snow" we told him, almost in unison. "Noooo" was his reply. He repeated it all day long, "Noooo". "Noooo". "Noooo". We learned very quickly to distinguish between "No" and "Noooo".

This was our designated weekend to decorate for the holidays. It was too icy to drive, so after breakfast we bundled up Luke to protect him from the icy cold conditions outside, grabbed his red wagon, and headed out on a short treck to pick our Christmas tree. Luckily, our local nursery, with a perfect tree selection, is only a block from our house.

The snow ushered in a real sense of holiday spirit in our home. It was the perfect beginning to our Christmas kickoff. Plus, there is more snow forcast for later in the week. If we get enough accumulation, they may even declare a snow day at work!! So, as they say...

"Let it noooo, let it noooo, let it noooo!"
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Photo by Bradley J

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Sloppy Problem

Mrs. LIAYF and I need to nip this in the bud. And we need to do it right away. After all, this could lead to years of heartache and loneliness. Not to mention the solitude and self doubt that would naturally go along with it. Plus, if I can’t rectify this issue now, my own lingering guilt about my failure to provide proper guidance may haunt me for years to come. No one wants that!

Allow me to explain. Lukas has been practicing his kissing skills lately. So far they leave much to be desired. No matter how much we try to convince him to purse his lips together, most of the time he is not quite getting it. When prompted to "Give us a kiss", he just smiles wide - then zeros in on us with a big, wet, and sloppy open mouth. He will wrap his little arms around our necks, looks us right in the eyes with concentrated determination, and plant his rather wet and juicy lips right on a check, or even a whole upper lip and nose on occasion.

Cute? Yes. Adorable? Absolutely. So where's the problem you might ask. With the ladies friends. The problem is with the ladies who will eventually vie for his affection. In my own unscientific poll I have found that big, wet, sloppy kisses are kind of unpopular with those of the fairer gender.

Mrs. LIAYF has even confessed to dumping a former acquaintance for being a sloppy kisser. And I know if I occasionally get a bit lax with my own technique, to this day she will call me on it. Similarly, I once ended a high school fling with a girl who had a terrible technique, one which left me nearly choking with each kiss. The fact is it’s a harsh, harsh world out there and those with inadequate skills are in danger of being left behind, lonely and confused.

Given all this, I think we need to redouble our efforts. Daily smooching practice will have to commence right away. Perhaps some lemon juice or sour patch candy would be in order. And in order to be a good teacher, I need to first become a good student. Continuing Education, if you will. Mrs. LIAYF doesn’t know it yet, but she will need to help me brush up, so we can pay it forward. We can call it one of those ‘Win-Win’ situations.

Let me know what you think folks. Am I off the mark here? And how about you? Have you ever dumped anyone for being a bad kisser?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Take 1

"Hey! Why are you handing me over to this Creepy dude who looks like Elmo with white fur all over him? Not cool Dada! Not cool at all..."


In retrospect, I guess we should have had a Santa picture taken last year. If we had, Lukas might not have been quite so freaked by this encounter with the Jolly Red Man at his daycare's Holiday party yesterday.
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Good thing there are still 3 weeks left before Christmas. It might take a few more attempts to pull this off!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do I Have to Spell it Out For You?

In a recent post I commented that I was astounded at how someone on the radio could use "The C Word" outloud during dinner. I opined that they must not have received the memo regarding that word.

Well, it appears that Lukas did, in fact, get the memo. Upon coming downstairs at 7:00 AM this morning, Luke went directly over to a neatly put away box of ASL flash cards, opened them and began thumbing through them, tossing aside the ones he didn't want....




Until he found what he was looking for, and politely walked over to me with big, expectant eyes and handed me this . . .



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chaos Theory


It all seemed pretty placid when I walked through the doors of Lukas' daycare yesterday afternoon. All the children were sitting calmly in a semi-circle with their tiny little backs to me, while the 'teacher' read them a story. I can't remember what the story was, but the scene immediately brought a smile to my face as I perused Luke's chart of progress for the day.

Then I heard him. Lukas was actually sitting in another teacher's lap, so I hadn't actually picked him out of the crowd on my initial glance. But I could see him now, and he was upset. Crying actually. As I went over to find out what was the matter, instead of coming to me for comfort, Lukas got up mid-story and made a bee -line to the sliding plastic curtain separating the playroom from the kitchen. He shook the curtain and wailed.

His teacher got up and explained to me that not 10 minutes before, Lukas had turned to see another mother, her back to him, leaving the building. This mother had the same hair and body type as Mrs. LIAYF and upon seeing this scene Lukas had called out "Mama", "Mama!!" but to no avail. They had been attempting to calm him since.

Surprisingly to me, my appearance had not comforted my little guy in the least. Worse, now he was shaking the curtain harder. Much like Dorothy trying to ferret out the Great and All Powerful OZ. Adding insult to injury, he was now hungry and snack time was in 15 minutes . I was there to whisk him away with an empty belly. He would have none of that.

Another teacher popped up, hoping to calm the scene. "Let me get you a cracker to go, Lukas". Bad idea. One by one the content pre-toddlers, upon hearing the word "cracker" lost focus, jumped up, and moved towards the curtain. The first teacher emerged with a vanilla wafer and handed it to Luke who was now on my hip with a birds eye view of the unfolding chaos below. Another teacher stood up and helped the first try to re-form the story-time circle. However, before one could be set back down, another would jump up and run crying hungry for the curtain. It was clearly a losing battle, but one they continued to wage.

Lukas, happy now, simply looked on from above, enthusiastically munching on his vanilla wafer with a grin. And with the hoard of hungry toddlers having re-grouped and in the midst of mounting another offensive, I quietly backed my way to the exit door and slipped out into the darkness of the early evening.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The "C-Word"

As Lukas' verbal skills continue to improve with each passing day, Mrs. LIAYF and I have been polishing up on our spelling skills. If there is an item or topic we want to discus to which Luke has an associated word, and we don't want him immediately weigh in, we have begun to spell that word out.

O-u-t-s-i-d-e, is a prime example. A few too many slip ups using that word at a time when going outdoors didn't jive with our plans, taught us pretty quickly to spell it out, lest we have a very disappointed little guy on our hands.

Another word, and one that has come up with increasing frequency in recent weeks, is cookie. The mere utterance of the "C-word" gets our little guy worked up into an excited lather. He will immediately stop whatever it happens to be that he is doing and, looking at us with wide, expectant eyes and begin to almost chant '"cuh-cah", "cuh-cah" while consecutively both rubbing his hand across his chest (ASL for please) as well as rotating his nearly cupped together hands back and forth on top of each other (ALS for cookie).


How can we resist? Granted, we don't give him cookies (really just animal crackers) everytime he asks for them, but the above mentioned scenario is just so damn cute, it makes it extremely difficult to say "No". Hence, we have learned rather quickly to spell out the "C-word".

All that being said, we weren't prepared when, 5 minutes into dinner a couple of nights ago, someone talking on the radio inexplicably used "COOKIE" in a sentence. So much for a balanced meal that night. How could they be so inconsiderate? I guess they didn't get the memo.

Mostly though, I think we are good with our current approach. At least until he learns to spell!