Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dad's A- Z: K is for Kapalua

Aloha readers! Yes, the LIAYF family is on a much needed vacation in beautiful Maui.

It was Mrs. LIAYF and my 13th Anniversary last Wednesday and we are celebrating by visiting the Island where we honeymooned. Lukas is with us and having a blast too, as he has learned to snorkel since arriving. Snorkeling was actually what brought us up to Kapalua today. We looked forward to seeing some colorful fish and turtles.

Instead I saw a lot of sand from my goggles. A lot of sand! That's because as soon as we got ourselves situated in the neck deep swirling water and Mrs. LIAYF swam off with Lukas, my wedding ring slipped right off my finger.

I immediately had a sinking feeling that after 13 years, my wedding band was lost forever.

That was not a good feeling.

As I mentioned the sand was shifting underfoot so I knew the ring was most likely buried right away. But I searched over and over again anyway. Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas came and helped me look for a while, before lovingly assuring me that it was okay and that it could be replaced. Still I felt sick about it for obvious reasons. They eventually went back to the beach while I stayed and searched. Several people watching from the beach trickled away as the time past.

After about an hour and a half later, exhausted, I was about to give up when a glimmer caught my eye. It was a sliver of the mostly buried band lying about 5ft deep. I removed the snorkel, took a breath and dove for it grabbing a handful of sand. And the ring!

Relieved, I gave my family the good news and a big hug. Engraved inside my band Mrs. LIAYF had added the Pearl Jam lyric "Don't it make you Smile" from a song we listened to a lot while dating.

The answer is yes, it certainly does.

(posted from my iPhone so forgive any formatting issues)


Monday, May 21, 2012

Dad's A-Z: J is for Just Breathing

I just spent a very nice three day weekend with Lukas and Mrs. LIAYF. We slept in, picnicked, hiked, grilled, and even got some things crossed off the to do list.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  

Over the past several months I've been working long hours and the stress level has risen perceptibly at work.  Thankfully, some big projects are getting done and I am finally getting a chance to catch up on many other nagging projects without those important deadlines looming.  In fact, I was as relaxed this weekend as I have been in quite a while.  

Add to that the fact that we are all going on vacation next week and I am feeling like I can finally breathe a bit easier now.  We have all been there, right?  Too much to do and too little time to do it in. Those are the times when having your loved ones near and supportive become so valuable. 

"Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they've got none uh-huh"
~ Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

Dear Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas, 
Thanks for always being there for me, even when I'm distracted.

Yeah, I'm a lucky man! Happy Monday all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dad's A-Z: I is for Inconceivable!

A day on the beach with Lukas is priceless

Sometimes a dash of perspective goes a long way.

Just the other day, I was feeling put off about something.  I must have been pretty insignificant, since I no longer have any idea what it was.  Honestly, I think it was just one of those long work days where things don't quite go your way.  Anyway, as I was in the midst of feeling crummy, Mrs. LIAYF called to check in on a long time friend in another state who has been having a rough time lately.

Her friend is a single mother of three, including twins who are about to turn one year old.  And she has no family close by to support her.  The twins have been sick a lot lately, and her older daughter also severely broke her nose recently. All this has resulted in her having to take off a lot of work lately.  She is naturally exhausted, and nearly out of sick days.

But you want to hear the worst part?  Trust me, you do.  Well this dedicated mother, our good friend,  has been off work so much dealing with her sick and injured offspring that she wasn't there to partake in a certain office activity.  One where her co-workers, the people she interacts with on a regular basis, gathered together to pool their resources and....buy some Lottery Tickets.  Do you know where I am going with this yet?  Yes, it's true.

Her co-workers won the lottery.

It will be a $1.6 Million payday for each of her group of co-workers.  The ones without the sick twins. Ouch! How awful would that be to have happen to you?  Suddenly, my troubles didn't seem so significant anymore.  Funny how that works, isn't it?

Thankfully, our friend is keeping a positive perspective on the whole situation.  She is a great mother and a super friend to Mrs. LIAYF,  so we really feel bad for her.  Then again, as cliche as it sounds, with all the time she is dedicating to her beautiful children she will be rewarded with wealth beyond imagination.

If I had to give up the opportunity to win a million dollars, or five million, or even one hundred million dollars to be with Lukas when he really needed me I would do it in a heartbeat.   No questions asked.  Of course, if I could do both I undoubtedly would,  but the point is that I wouldn't have to think about it.  It would be inconceivable to me not to.

This surprises me.  Scratch that, that would surprise the me of five years ago, but not the me of today.  Being a dad is that valuable to me.

In the moment, while tired and stressed and dealing with sick babies that line of reasoning may be of little consolation to her. But it is real, and with time the memory of finding out her co-workers had won the lottery without her may fade, but the memories of spending time with her family will definitely not.  Take it from someone who has already hit the jackpot.

And on another bright side, if any of those winners did decide to return to work,  who do you think might receive some pretty wonderful birthday gifts?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dad's A-Z: H is for Half Life

"Brains!" "Dip!"
Half Life, abbreviated  as t1/2, is defined as the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a substance undergoing decay.  Sometimes I'm also wondering if I've reached my chronological Half Life yet.  (This is otherwise know as Middle Age) Honestly it feels like my rate of decay is increasing these days.  Of course, I hope I haven't reached my half life already. I'm still in my mid-forties for crying out loud.

When I was younger, I have to admit I was not worried about getting old.  Not at all.  This was because I was convinced that by the time I did get 'old' (I don't think at the time I actually had an age associated with it, but I figured I would know it once I got there) that scientists would surely figure out the cure to all those ailes that plauge us.  And, of course, I would be a beneficiary of all that new knowledge - allowing me to live well into my 100's.  Yes, I was that naive.

And no, I'm not so sure of that anymore.  Sure, the rate of scientific progress has been fast, but not as fast as I had assumed it would be. What an utterly disappointing realization.   I think we're going to need more scientists.

My niece Alyssa is currently studying to be a cancer researcher at college right now.  She's super smart, but I know of no plans to clone her at this point.  This would be a good idea.

The sad fact is, as of late I have been noticing a particularly large number of accounts of men in their 40's actually dropping dead.  Kicking the can.  Liquidating their assets. Swimming with the fishes. Ceasing to be.  Well, you get the picture.  Bottom line: These poor fellas are no longer around to enjoy the life they worked so hard to build.

Now, I don't have any statistics on whether guys in their 40's check out any more often than at any other age,  but it sure seems like I am hearing or reading about a ton of them of late.  One minute I read about a guy keeling over from a heart attack, the next another about a dude who succumbs to the Big C.  Each one of these makes me cringe.  Maybe statistically there are more deaths of guys in middle age than later, or maybe I am just noticing more because I am there now. 

Dropping Dead?  Increasing rate of decay?  Maybe I should be starring in an episode of The Walking Dead.

Like I said, I'm noticing more.  That's why I am finally doing something about it.   One has to start somewhere.  Today, I found myself eating mouthfuls of baby carrots while my office was having a chip and dip party.  It's part of a bigger plan. This was extremely difficult though, as my primal self was fighting the insatiable urge to dive onto the table and face plant itself into a bowl of artichoke dip.  But no, I'm in my forties now and I need to change my eating habits, right?   I need to ensure that I didn't reach my half life back back when Grunge was all the rage.  Hence the carrots.

They were not satisfying.

Honestly though, If I am going to eat healthier, lose weight, and increase my chances of a very long and productive life, it will not be for me.  I would just as soon die with a slice of pizza in one hand and a beer with a red vine straw in the other.  No, I am trying to be healthier - to slow my rate of decay and increase my half life- for the Lukas and Mrs. LIAYF.  I need to be there long term for both of them.

The thought of Lukas having to grow up, go off to college, get married, have kids of his own, and most of all watch the Mariners win their first world series without his father are tough to swallow.  I need to keep this in mind while I battle my junk food demons.  Ultimately, it will lead to better habits.

And a Full Life.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dad's A-Z: G is for Glasses

Glasses fit for Superman

It was at his 4th year check up that we discovered Lukas had an issue with his eyes.  Well, eye actually but I will get to that.  At that check up, the nurse took him to do the eye exam for the first time.

I suspect that they waited until his 4th birthday, rather than doing one on his 3rd, because they assumed he would not be able to recognize his letters before then.  But he knew them at 3, so I am a bit upset with myself for not asking that they do the test back then.

During the exam, he rattled off several of the rows with his first eye.  His vision was 20/20. But   when he switched to the second, he immediately indicated that he couldn't see the top letter.  We assumed it was because he was holding his palm over that eye while reading with the first.  But subsequent tries yielded no better results.

We were shocked.  Really.  His eyes tracked perfectly, his depth perception seemed fine (he learned to ride his pedal bike at 3!), and he gave absolutely no indication he was having problems with that eye.

It turns out he has Ambleopia, a condition where one eye becomes dominant and the other doesn't develop as much even though it is functionally sound.   Some people like to refer to this as Lazy Eye, but we don't use the L word around here.  We just refer to his 'Strong' eye (As in The Force is Strong in that eye), which he undoubtedly received from Mrs. LIAYF.  The other? Yeah, that one would be from me.  I'm not joking about that either as I was recently diagnosed with a minor case of Ambleopia myself. Apparently I have had it all my life!  How ironic is it that I would find this out now, in a completely unrelated series of events? 

His Pediatric Ophthalmologist prescribed up to 4 hours a day of patching on the strong eye, to make his affected eye work, and subsequently strengthen.  She said it will take up to 5 years of this therapy, but that there is a very strong chance that his vision will be back to 20/20 in both eyes by then.  This is great news, especially since Lukas still aspires to be the first man to set foot on Mars.  He will need both eyes at 100%.

Along with the patching, she also prescribed glasses, which he will be wearing for the 5 years as well.    Thankfully, Lukas never complained about the glasses.  We let him pick them out himself.  He chose a stylish pair with red frames because "They look like glasses Superman would wear!"


5 years is a long time, and although we are glad he will get back to 20/20 Mrs. LIAYF and I wish we would have known sooner.  That might well have cut down on the time period for correction.

So, we would encourage parents of young kids to have their eyes checked as young as possible.  Even if they seem to have perfect vision.  It won't cost you anything, but it may just give you a jump on a problem that takes a long time to resolve.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dad's A-Z: F is for Family Size

Help our family adopt a baby!  Check us out at Parent Profiles .

Lukas keeps asking Mrs. LIAYF and I when he is going to have a little brother or sister.

That's a good question.  I wrote a post back in September announcing that we were looking to adopt a second child. If you haven't already, go read it.  It says so much more than this post will.  Now, eight months later we are still waiting. Still waiting, as we like to describe it, for our 2nd child to choose us.

With busy lives, eight months can slip by seemingly in a heartbeat.  But it hasn't for us.  Not at all.

For us, each day of the past eight months of waiting has been it's own reminder that our home is overflowing with love and laughter.  That there is just too much of it for a mere 3 people to handle.  Way too much!

Now I don't mean to alarm anyone, but we are drowning in love and laughter here. It is filling up our rooms as it spreads itself through our open spaces. It's under our chins and rising as we have our heads pressed firmly against the ceiling.

Like I said, we are drowning here.

What we need is a sponge.  A perfect little child sized sponge to soak up all that extra love and laughter and set things to rights in our home.  To rescue us from our peril.  Is that too much to ask?  I think not.

Lukas is so helpful around the house too.  We know that he would do a terrific job of taking that sponge and helping it to soak up all the extra goodness that abounds here.

He even has a list of Big Brother Promises:

I want to hold the baby and read the baby books.
I want to show the baby the stars on my bedroom ceiling.
I want to teach the baby how to be safe and use good words.
I want to protect the baby from kids who are not nice.
I want to teach the baby  how to walk and ride a bike.
I want to be silly and make the baby laugh.
And, most of all, I want to hug and kiss the baby.
I will be a good big brother, I know I will.

We just need that sponge to, as we say, choose us.  For all our sakes, we hope that is soon.

For those interested, we still have an adoption badge over on the right hand column that you can grab the code for and paste on your site. If you decide to post it, we would be extremely grateful.

Also, we now have our very own adoption profile over at Parent Profiles .  Please, if you know of a prospective birth mother looking for a family to adopt her child, please consider referring her to us.  Via email would be best.

Thanks so much.