Seattle-based blogger James has an overwhelmingly irresistible sense of humor. From the Star Wars-riffing title to the charming and quirky post titles, a love of laughter permeates the site just as much as James' adoration of son Luke. From Etch-a-Sketches to potty training, all facets of childrearing are delved into with gusto and warmth. It's not all giggles here, though; James also knows how to provide his readers with honest and thoughtful insights on the not-always-pretty reality of fatherhood.
A REAL CHANGE of Perspective
Consider picking up one of these papersnext time you see a vendor. Well worth the $2investment.Tonight was another night where we had dinner out with the kids. Truth be told though we would have just as well eaten back at home, but we had eye appointments for both kids this evening (You've seen their glasses), and didn't get finished until nearly 6:00PM. Immediate nutrients were a requisite, lest we all melt down.So pizza was on the menu, at a joint on Seattle's Capitol Hill, which was not far from the eye doctor's office. As usual we ended up ordering too much pie. The kids are actually smaller than they seem when they are hungry. I know, go figure.Anyway, after the meal we eventually packed up the kiddos along with our leftovers, and headed down the sidewalk on our way back to the cars. We were walking hand in hand - as it was dark and it's just nice to hold the hand of someone you love. As we were walking along paying most of our attention to those of us aged in single digits, I glanced up to see a man approach. He wasn't dressed well, but it was immediately obvious to me that he was not in the best of places. He asked for some cash. Unfortunately I don't usually carry cash so while still passing by I told him that I was sorry, but couldn't help.After a few steps though, Mrs. LIAYF looked over at me and told me to "give him the pizza". Of course, this immediately seemed pretty obvious to me as well. He clearly needed it more than we did. So I back tracked to man, who was walking the other way and offered him the extra pie. But he just kept on walking. Thinking he didn't hear me as I usually talk softly, I approached closer and offered again a bit louder.That is when he turned towards me an very angrily yelled "NO!!" right in my face. Then mumbled some incomprehensible words as he walked off.I was startled a bit by that, but accepted his decision and rejoined my family. It was then that Lukas, who looked a bit shocked himself told us "I'm scared." "There's nothing to be scared of Bud" I told him, "Your Mom and I are right here with you." We resumed our walk, and Mrs. LIAYF and I began to explain to our son about people who are struggling and whose brains don't always work in ways that others would expect them to, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still try to help these folks out when we have an opportunity. That there are a lot of folks looking for a bit of help, which might just make a huge difference for them.Ironically, about the time we were walking and explaining this to him, we were also passing another man, selling papers. I immediately recognized this as a REAL CHANGE vendor. The vendors are homeless, and sell the papers to earn much needed money. Money they use to survive. Mrs. LIAYF and I usually include them in our year end giving.So, I stopped our family for a second time and although I still didn't have any cash on me, used the opportunity to approach this man and again offer our leftover food."Absolutely!" he beamed, flashing a huge smile - obviously thrilled at the prospect of a hot meal on a cold evening. "Thank you so much. And please take a paper. Please." he extended one to me, which I gladly accepted and returned the gratitude. Literally a few moments had passed since the first encounter, and here we were able to see such a different reaction to our offer.It was powerful. With that, we once again we resumed our walk to our car. And were able to use this new encounter to greatly enhance the learning experience the kids were getting. We explained to our little ones that as they could see, you can't make assumptions about people based on what you see on the outside. Sure there are going to be times where people act badly, but it's usually for an understandable, if unfortunate, reason. But that more often you will see how people are good and appreciate any amount of genuine help we can give, even when they are struggling the most.That was a lesson worth so much more than a few slices of leftover pizza.
It was a major, dare I say 'epic' haul last night, as we returned home from dinner out with Grandma and Grandpa. Lukas, Annabelle, Mrs. LIAYF and I met my folks at a local 50's themed diner for burger, fish and chips, milkshakes, and classic rock and roll. There's a jukebox in this diner where, for two bits, you can choose from any number of classics. Somehow by randomly punching at the jukebox buttons Annabelle chose the song Teenager in Love, prompting a near hyperventilating howl of laughter from Lukas. He's 8.Anyway, all those things were cool for sure but were NOT the highlight of the evening for the kids. There was something much cooler in this establishment to occupy their time.If you are thinking to yourself "I bet there was also one of those vending dispensers of cheap trinkety toys in little bubble shaped plastic containers there as well" Ding, ding, ding and DING! crown yourself king of the Internet for the next 30 seconds, because you're good at this game.On this particular evening our happy kids lucked into the perfect storm, or perhaps more appropriately, the Bermuda Triangle of tiny plastic treasure pieces, when the combination of Grandpa, vending machine, and change dispenser formed a soul and dollar bill sucking triangle just outside of the two tables we had pulled together to give the other patrons a barrier between themselves and our pinballing children. And our kids deftly took full advantage of their good fortune (it's rare they get to deposit more than one quarter into such machines) by raking in such amazing treasure pieces as plastic bracelets, plastic rings, plastic heart shaped key chains, rubber aliens, plastic watches, compasses, and spinning tops. All in multitudes. Personally, I was a bit sad to see that not one of those tiny plastic bubbles had a sad looking tiny plastic boy in it. Not a single one.Perhaps Lukas was looking for one for me though, because he and his sister just kept feeding the machines. First the change dispenser, then the trinket barfing hunk of metal and glass. Over and over. This machine even seemed to be looking up towards the grownups and laughing every time it coughed up another plastic bubble.On a side note, If that's not already the theme of a horror movie, it should be.When it finally did stop, Mrs. LIAYF's body was adorned with much of this haul. She looked like a much prettier, plastic adorned version of Mr. T - circa 1982 and Rocky III. Apparently she was acting as the safe deposit box while our little pirates were out looting.I would have loved to have found a way to leave all those trinkets right there, at the diner. Perhaps for another less fortunate and Grandparent-less child to happen upon. But alas, it was not to be.The haul was gathered. It was brought home. It will find it's way into the nooks and crannies of our home. It will take it's rightful place there amongst all the other trinkety treasure that my kids have gathered over the years. One day, a long time from now, no doubt there will be a headline that reads something to the effect: 'Scientists break open Seattle home - Are appalled at the number of tiny plastic pieces they find.Yes, welcome home endless tiny plastic pieces of junk. You have now arrived at Trinketville. Enjoy your stay.
Lump1 and Lump2I have no idea what triggered it, but I ended up spending much of our post dinner wind down time this evening engaged in a game of Lumpy Blanket with the kids. I played this game with both kids, but in truth it was mostly with Lukas. We've played on many occasions over the years.You've never played Lumpy Blanket before, you say? Well, the game is played something like this. Player one (that would be me) is walking from one room to the next in the house - let's say from the kitchen to the living room, because that was where this game actually started - and right there in the middle of the floor sits a large blanket. It's just sitting there in a lump.I'm sure there are other versions of this game, but tonight as I approach this blanket, it's a bit squirmy. I take the bait and the game commences. "What is this blanket doing in the middle of the floor!" In mock exasperation, I ask to no one and everyone all at once. "Can't you people (referring to my loving family) pick up after yourselves?" It's at this point that I animatedly pick up the blanket to toss it on the couch, and it's heavy. I mean like a 60lb sack of potatoes heavy. But I throw it onto the couch gently nonetheless, and go about my business. But somehow this lumpy, heavy blanket ends up back on the floor again. Then it happens again, and another time. But I keep playing. Once as I was tossing the lumpy blanket onto the couch it actually let out a muted fart, then giggled. "Did you order the Amazing Farting Blanket from that infomercial we watched recently?" I asked Mrs. LIAYF. "Cause if you did, it really works." She denied this.This elicited a laugh from the blanket.I'm not sure why I kept playing this game. Especially when I had to haul this very heavy blanket up the stairs to Lukas' bedroom not once, or even twice, but on three separate occasions tonight. Only to find it back downstairs in the middle of the floor again.I have to admit that I felt this afterwards.Why? I guess it's because, despite this seriously exhausting me after a long day at the office, I wondered to myself all the time just how much longer I would get a chance to carry a blanket such as this one around the house, up and down the stairs. This amazing, woolen, lumpy, heavy, giggling, farting blanket - The only game piece associated with this fun for the whole family, but seriously under-marketed game - just keeps growing bigger and bigger. The game is getting more difficult as time passes. And I fear that much much too soon I won't be able to play this version of Lumpy Blanket any longer. That will be sad.
- Feb 17, 2016 Lumpy Blanket
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- Feb 08, 2016 Happy Cakes
- Feb 07, 2016 Younger Self: May I Present what Old Really Is
- Feb 04, 2016 The Big Squeeze
- Feb 01, 2016 A Fest Fit for a Kid
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- Nov 25, 2015 A Super Girl
- Nov 22, 2015 Fashionably Late Halloween Post
- Sep 27, 2015 The Amazing Magic Hands
- Sep 10, 2015 Wordless Wednesday: Good Night Beach
- Sep 09, 2015 Proof I'd Do (Nearly) ANY Thing for My Kids
- Aug 26, 2015 How to Win Treats and Influence People
- Aug 15, 2015 They Saw The Sign, It Opened Up Their Eyes
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- Aug 06, 2015 Break a Leg
- Mar 01, 2015 Saved By The Belle
- Feb 22, 2015 Wheels Off The Ground
- Feb 15, 2015 Skating Through Life - Starting Now.
- Jan 01, 2015 On Worm Holes, Awards, and Scooters
- Oct 26, 2014 Blowin' After The Wind
- Oct 22, 2014 Poop on Pop
- Oct 15, 2014 My Bestie Shot
- Oct 13, 2014 I Would Die a Happy Man
- Oct 08, 2014 A Long Time Ago (earlier tonight), in a Bathroom Far Far Away