Birthday Party Gift

Our son Lukas turned 4 a couple of days ago. Being our only child, Mrs. LIAYF and I have each year held a party with a fairly large number of guests.

This year, we had hoped to scale down the party to a respectable number, but as it turned out for the 4th year in a row we ended up with a get-together which was larger, and more involved than the ones from previous years. This party, which was a huge success, had a Superhero theme complete with custom capes made by my lovely wife, and had a guest list of more than 60 friends and family, including nearly 30 kids.

But, if you are thinking “Wow, I wonder how much loot he scored with that many guests?”, the answer is actually none.  That’s because, as a rule, we ask that gifts not be brought to the birthday parties we throw for our son.  After all, how many toys does one kid really need?

Instead, like I suspect many families do, we ask rather that guests – optionally, of course – bring something else to the party.  On his 1st and 2nd birthdays, we asked held a diaper drive for a local organization which benefits needy families.  This year, like last, we instead asked that guests bring a non perishable donation to support our local food bank. 

We didn’t collect a ton of food, but it was enough to make a difference for at least a few needy families, and we also are donating some left over food items from the party, such as juice boxes.  Of course, the reasons for this are thoroughly explained to our now 4 year old son.  We want him to grow up with the knowledge that helping others is the not only the right thing to do, but something that should come naturally.

Today, Mrs. LIAYF will pick him up from preschool early, and take him to the food bank where he will get to drop off his gift from the party.  Then on Friday, it’s off to Seattle Children’s Hospital to drop off the leftover Superhero capes his mother so lovingly made for all his friends.  Of all the gifts he ended up getting for his birthday week, we are hoping these are the ones that last.

He thought it was a terrific idea.

A Tall Order

I had one of those nice dad moments the other day while I was driving my son Lukas home from preschool. Although most often during these drives I have the radio or CD player turned off so I can talk about the day with him, that afternoon I decided I was in the mood to listen to some music.

I had one of those nice dad moments the other day while I was driving my son Lukas home from preschool.  Although most often during these drives I have the radio or CD player turned off so I can talk about the day with him, that afternoon I decided I was in the mood to listen to some music.

Now, when he was young, I had no problem choosing any number of my favorite bands to listen to while Lukas was in the room.  I tend to listen to a lot of Blues, folk, and Rock.  Basically, I had no problem because he didn’t really understand the lyrics back then.  But more recently Mrs. LIAYF and I have opted to play a lot of kid tunes when he is listening because now that he can pick up the lyrics in a song, he finds many of those kid releases funny or catchy. 

One such CD is a Sandra Boynton collection of goofy songs.  I know, I know.  But even I will admit many of those songs are catchy and kinda funny.  Even to a grown man.  So, as a result we had been listening to that collection a lot of late and it certainly was growing a bit tired for me.

But back to the car.  Wanting to listen to some music, I had opened up the glove box and my ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’ disc was sitting in there, so I popped it in for a change of pace.  The first song was ‘The Wild Hunt’ which I really enjoy:

 

My son, who was distracted, stopped and listened intently for at least a minute before he spoke.

“Wow, I like this Daddy. It’s good music.  Who sings it?” he asked.

“The Tallest Man on Earth” I responded

“The Tallest Man on Earth? Does his head reach the clouds?”

“No.  That’s just his singing name.  I’m not sure how tall he really is.”

“Where’s he from?”

“Sweden, I think.”

“Well, we should go there someday.” he responded.

I agreed that we should.  (We could visit the old country)

And I thought to myself that despite all the goofy kid tunes, I needn’t worry.  He has inherited good musical taste.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fellow Revolutionary Dads out there.

#DadStreaking

Despite my title this is not a post about dads who have a few too many hits on the beer bong the night before a big trip to The Home Depot with the fam. Although it might be more humorous if it was. Who doesn’t love that Hank the Tank scene?

Despite my title this is not a post about dads who have a few too many hits on the beer bong the night before a big trip to The Home Depot with the fam.  Although it might be more humorous if it was.  Who doesn’t love that Hank the Tank scene?

No, actually with the start of baseball season and the recent feel good streak of wins by my hometown 9, the Seattle Mariners – I have been thinking of streaks recently.  And when I do think of streaks, I usually think of baseball. 

I had the good fortune to be in attendance at the Kingdome in Seattle as Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 8th home run in as many games back on July 28th, 1993. The place went wild, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Then, of course, there are the most famous of baseball streaks. Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak – which I consider to be probably the greatest single accomplishment in sports – and Cal Ripken Jr’s consecutive games played streak of 2632 over a 17 year span for the Baltimore Orioles.  I was actually in attendance at Camden Yard in Baltimore for one of those games on May 23rd, 2000, and although I don’t know what number that game was in his streak, I do know he hit a game winning two run homer again the Mariners that night.  He was certainly something special to watch.

All this talk of streaking brings me back to the title of this post.  Even though it’s not sports related, I am very proud to report that this dad has a streak going of his own.  While growing up on a small town farm in the 7o’s and 80’s I always knew my dad loved me very much. The thing was, he just didn’t say it much.  If at all. 

But since the day my son Lukas was born, I have made sure to say those three words to him every day.  Often many times.  A streak of 1408 straight days, and counting.  Obviously, I am not close to setting any kind of record here, but it sure is a nice feeling to look back on this streak and realize what it must mean to him to hear this each and every day from his dad.

I haven’t kept track, but he has a mini streak of his own going on as Wednesday upon seeing me arrive to pick him up from pre-school he ran across the play yard, jumped into my arms and held me firmly around the neck for a few seconds before leaning back, kissing me on the nose and saying “I love you daddy”.

That, right there my friends, is what it’s all about.

How about you, Revolutionaries? Have you been #DadStreaking lately?

*Image from Wikipedia

Make Every Day Earth Day

Happy Thursday Revolutionaries.  Tomorrow, Friday April 22nd is not only Good Friday, it’s also Earth Day 2011

What activities do you have planned with your kids to commemorate?  Although there are a lot of activities going on here in Seattle in conjunction with Earth Day, The SeattleDad household will unfortunately not be participating in any of them.  That’s because, as I suspect a lot of you also do, Mrs. LIAYF and I have to work tomorrow. 

I haven’t heard yet, but I am pretty certain that our son’s pre-school will have a full slate of Earth Day activities on the schedule, and when we get him home we will most likely focus our evening conversation on what the significance of the day means.  Thankfully, it won’t be a foreign topic for our little guy.  That’s because my wife and I do our best to work conservation into our daily family routine.  In essence, we try to make every day around here an earth friendly day.

Now don’t get me wrong.  We are by no means the cliched Seattle family of tree hugging, Prius driving, green hippies who go out of our way to make sure everyone knows we are children of Mother Gaia.  On the contrary, we are just a family who has tried to work sound conservation practices into our daily routines.  We want conserving limited resources to be as natural a concept to our children as getting up in the morning (they both take little extra effort but need to be done).  How exactly do we do this?  Well, just like many of you do I suspect. 

We compost our food waste and yard clippings, separate out recyclables from our trash, turn off lights when we aren’t using them, use low flow shower heads, walk around our neighborhood instead of driving when possible, drive fuel efficient cars when we do, buy nearly everything (except food and underwear, of course) used, and also flush our toilets once every two weeks.

Okay, just kidding on that last one.  How many of you went “Ewwww”?  But we did install a low flow toilet in a recent remodel.  We also gave away old lumber on Craigslist, buy recycled and used material when possible, and used eco friendly paints and flooring.

Was everything we did eco-friendly?  No, of course not.  Who can afford that?  We just did what we could at the time, just like we do on a daily basis with our other measures.  And while we are doing it, when we remember we talk about why we doing them with our son.  Like I said, we want it all to come naturally to him as he grows older. 

To some these measures may not seem like enough, and surely we can and should do even better, but we aren’t going to kill ourselves over it.  However, if every family out there adopted many of these same measures I know it would make a huge impact on our planet.  And Mother Gaia would surely be pleased.

So tell me.  Do you have anything special planned in commemoration of Earth Day 2011.

One Day He’ll Read to Me

My bedside table is an interesting case study in failure.  I say this because there are several books sitting on it that I started, but ultimately failed to finish.  The latest is my copy of ‘Washington – A Life’ which, no surprise, is a biography of the life of George Washington.

I actually did better on this volume than most of the others in the pile, making it through nearly 500 pages, and the whole of the American Revolutionary War, before finally succumbing to the reality that at the rate I was going it would take me through most of the summer months before I could conquer this nearly 1000 page behemoth.  I started it back in January and in my defense the words were extremely small.  The thought that I had already spent 4 months on it started to cause a mental block to finishing it  for me, as I started longing to begin many of the other books waiting for me to read. 

My pace has been slow on this, and other books, mainly because mostly I only read books in bed before turning out the lights.  Recently I have only been able to read a few pages before I am out cold, sometimes not even one.  The problem is that by that time of night, I am pretty wiped out from a long day at work and a full list of chores to do at home.  Honestly, being a full time working parent seems to leave little time for me to read anymore.

Or so I thought as I stared at my bedside table a couple of nights ago for something else to read.  Something I could finish in much less than a half a year.  As glanced at all the titles I had given up on: Wolf Hall, Moby Dick, and Worlds End among them, I was also thinking how sad it was that I had so much trouble finishing any books these days.

Then, nearby I spied another title.  One that I actually had finished recently and it instantly changed my perspective.  It was called Green Eggs and Ham.

In fact I realized that I had finished quite a few books recently.  Even several a day, some days.   The fact is that I like to read for pleasure, and for a way to relax and destress from a long day at the office.  And reading to my son certainly gives me that opportunity.  I’ll gladly continue to exchange time I could be reading to myself, for the time I take to read to him.

That’s because soon enough, he’ll be reading on his own and won’t need me to read him stories nearly as often. I’m pretty sure I’ll miss that reading time we share.

Or perhaps not.  Maybe then I can convince him to read to me.  Maybe he could even read me the last half of Moby Dick.

Older Dad Blues

I got a bit of a late start at being a dad. My amazing son was born at the end of June in 2007, and barely two months later I turned 40. We didn’t hold a big party for my 40th birthday party, since Mrs. LIAYF and I were still in sleep deprivation induced shock at the time.

I got a bit of a late start at being a dad.  My amazing son was born at the end of June in 2007,  and barely two months later I turned 40.  We didn’t hold a big party for my 40th birthday party, since Mrs. LIAYF and I were still in sleep deprivation induced shock at the time.  Plus, I’m not sure I would have known how to respond to not only the jokes about being over the hill, but also about how old I would be when Lukas entered High School, got married, or had kids of his own.

Sure, there’s a lot of good natured kidding around when it comes to subject of being an older parent, but you know what? It is, at least partially anyway, based in reality.  By the time you are in your 40’s – unless you are some sort of health freak – you’re slowing down considerably from your earlier days of adulthood.  Heck, my parents were in their early 20’s when they had my sister, brother, and I.  And although 3 kids in three years sounds rough (Mom, you were amazing), I often wonder if the dealing with 1 kid when you are 40 is roughly the same equivalent. 

I’m pretty sure I would not had the same patience, experience, and financial stability that I have now if I had become a father for the first time in my 20’s or even 30’s for that matter.  But I am sure I would have had a heck of a lot more energy. Energy that, as I ponder it now, would most certainly come in handy when picking Lukas up from preschool after a long day at work, or on weekend mornings when he rises with the sun, wanders into our room and wants to play, or to snuggle, or to go downstairs and make pancakes that very minute.

Plus, it would sure be great to be as limber as I was when I was 20.  To paraphrase my lovely wife, I wish I was in as good of shape now as I was back then when I thought I was in bad shape.  Now though, when it’s time for toy clean up and I know there is little to no chance that our little guy will clean up all the toys himself, I just look down at them strewn everywhere and sigh, realizing that ‘they sure are a long way down’.  Not to mention that my back will usually crackle, snap, and make sure I know that it’s definitely against the idea. 

Don’t even get me started on being a ‘horsey’ who gives rides.  Mrs. LIAYF volunteered me for that task the other day. And while she chuckled and Lukas laughed with joy, I was crawling around on my knees on wood floors with a 35 pound dead weight on my back.  I was more nag than thoroughbred. 

You know, If I weren’t so tired, I might actually make time to work out more.  And, of course by more, I mean some.  Plus, now, just when our nearly 4 year old seems to be getting independent enough to give me the time to actually do that, we are in the planning for another child.  Of course, this time I will definitely be more prepared, but I will also be closer to 45 than 40.

Sure, I complain a bit. It helps.  But I know that I am an incredibly lucky man.  And even despite all the above listed things, there is not a scenario conceivable to me where I would trade the experiences I am having now as the father of such an amazing boy for the chance to go back and become one at an earlier age. 

As tiring and painful as it can be, this is my life.  This is my happiness, and my reason for smiling each and every day. I’ll be fine. 

Just give me a tub of ibuprofen and my kids a set of spurs.

For Reading Out Loud!

I know this is not exactly timely coming a day after the actual event, but I thought it worth mentioning that yesterday, March 9th 2011 was World Read Out Loud Day.  Read Out Day is a concept of LitWorld, and as described on their event home page is:

about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

I have to say, I really love this concept.  Although I just became aware that it was World Read Out Loud Day last night as it neared completion, Mrs. LIAYF and I were still able to take advantage by deciding to read extra books to Lukas at bedtime.  I say extra books because, in reality every day is Read Out Loud Day at casa LIAYF.  I have mentioned here before about Lukas’ love of books, and even posted over at my personal dad blog about his impressive book collection (which by the way is now closer to 600).  Last night I read a Gerald and Piggie book by Mo Willems to Lukas before turning the duties over to my lovely wife who usually read him 2-3 books in bed before he falls asleep.

The fact is that we read multiple books out loud to Lukas each and every day.  It is a terrific experience which we share with him, and one which stirs his imagination and always leaves him asking for more.  Plus, we also realize how truly lucky we are to be able to share these stories with Lukas.  That’s because we are well aware how privledged we are to be raising him in our society, at this time in history.  As LitWorld points out:  Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name.  That is an astonishing number to me as I can’t even imagine not being able to read or write myself and even more so for Lukas.

So, although it is true this is not a timely post for alerting you to participate in World Read Out Loud Day 2011, perhaps it has at least made you aware that the day exists.  I’m pretty sure the planning for next year’s event is already in the planning stages, so go visit the WorldLit site and see what you can do to help make World Read Out Loud Day 2012 a success.

I’m already considering of what I can do.

p.s. I wrote this post during Lukas’ bedtime.  By the time I finished, I heard several thumps from his room.  Mrs. LIAYF investigated and found Lukas out of bed, lights on, surrounded by the 20 or so “new books” we checked out from our local library last weekend – he wanted to read them all before he went to sleep.  He does love his books! 

Old Haunts

It’s that time of year for me at work. It seems it’s always that time of year, but I suppose that is an altogether separate discussion. And, with that time of year, comes the requisite stress of too many things to do, and not enough time to do them. Throw in a few unreasonable deadlines, and it all adds up to longer hours, a high stress level for Daddy, and more than the normal amounts of work making its way home.

Amidst all this though, the one thing that I don’t want compromise on, is the level of attention that I give to my son Lukas. He is an only child, and by practice we expose him to very little media. The result of that mix means that when we are together, he needs and gets most of my attention. I am more than okay with this arrangement too. As I have often brought attention to here and at ‘Luke, I am Your Father’, he is extremely fun to be around. We kid around and laugh together constantly, which is a great elixir to the stresses of the day.

But when life gets busy and I get stressed, as I have recently, I find comfort in feeling like I’m in control. And control means getting things done. Therefore when time is constrained and I am not getting things done it seems to add to my already elevated stress level. It’s usually many of the same things that seem race through my mind and haunt me in these situations.

The paint is peeling off the front steps

There are steps that need repaired

The garage needs cleared out

The lawn needs replanted

The fuit trees need pruned

I promised to do a guest post I haven’t delivered on

I am not supporting my blog freinds enough

I am not responding to comments on my own blog

I am not posting about products that have been sent to me

I am not putting enough thought into the posts I do post

I am not spending enough personal time with my wife

I am not getting enough sleep

I am eating too much sugar

I am not calling my parents often enough

I should be working out more, or at least some

My career should be advancing faster than it is

I am not capturing enough of my son’s growth on film 

And the list certainly could go on. I keep thinking to myself, “If I only had more time.” And it’s true too. If I had an extra 4, 3, or even 2 hours a day to spend on the list of things that haunt me I doubt my stress level would be as high during times like the one I am experiencing at work.

But taking time away from spending with my son, at this critical time of his development, is still not an option. The stress relief I get from laughing, teaching, and having fun with Lukas will still always outweigh that which I would get from not spending that extra time with him and focusing on getting other things accomplished.

I suppose I just need to figure out how to work less for the same pay.




Family Style Dining.

Each night we are all able to sit down together, without distraction – save for a bit of background music, and enjoy each other’s company. Often we are all tired after our respective long days, but the opportunity to sit, relax, and replenish ourselves with a home cooked meal is just the elixir we all need to ready ourselves for the final push to bedtime.

I just returned from helping to get my 3 year old son Lukas ready for sleep.  My wife, Mrs. LIAYF, is now reading finishing up reading stories with him in bed.  It is all a part of the evening routine around here, which includes cleaning up, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom.  I’m sure you all know the drill quite well.  I bet we could all do it in our sleep.  And probably have on occasion.  However, there is one aspect of our evening which we particularly enjoy, and which I hope to extend out as long as possible.

Dining together as a family. 

Each night we are all able to sit down together, without distraction – save for a bit of background music, and enjoy each other’s company.  Often we are all tired after our respective long days,  but the opportunity to sit, relax, and replenish ourselves with a home cooked meal is just the elixir we all need to ready ourselves for the final push to bedtime.  Mrs. LIAYF and I make a point to have a balanced meal available most nights, which always includes a fresh fruit and green vegetable along with the main course.  It doesn’t hurt that he is a terrific eater, who rarely turns anything away.  Tonight, he finished a healthy serving of red and green kale, steamed with balsamic vinegar and loved it.   He’s a good kid.  I honestly don’t think that I ate a green vegetable myself until I was in my mid 20’s.

But that is not all we want to expose him to at a young age.  We want him to know the value of family conversation, and detoxification from ever present glut of external stimulation that is present in today’s society.

Sure, he is still a bit too young to be affected by most of it.  But I can imagine a time when Lukas, and perhaps another sibling, are older and inundated with external demands of thier time and attention.  Just a quick search revealed that there are a lot of articles out there detailing the benefits that researchers have found about families dining together.  These benefits include better grades at school, reduction in the rates of addiction and depression, and the opportunity to learn about a child’s day and experiences.  Turning off media and focusing on family is generally a positive experience.

Our hope is that as Lukas (and our future children) grow older, having established this family tradition early on, we will still have this time each day together.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day and I hope it becomes his as well. 

What about you?  How often do you eat together as a family?

Cat’s in The City

Readers, I sense an uneasiness in the air. A feeling that many of you may be concerned for the state of Dad Blogging. After all 2010, proclaimed far and wide as The Year of the Dad Blogger, is quickly drawing to a close. In fact, at the time this post is published, there will only be one short day remaining before all Dad Bloggers from Seattle to Shanghai unceremoniously turn back into pumpkins only to be dropped from 3rd story windows onto sidewalks below.

Readers, I sense an uneasiness in the air. A feeling that many of you may be concerned for the state of Dad Blogging.  After all 2010, proclaimed far and wide as The Year of the Dad Blogger, is quickly drawing to a close.  In fact, at the time this post is published, there will only be one short day remaining before all Dad Bloggers from Seattle to Shanghai unceremoniously turn back into pumpkins only to be dropped from 3rd story windows onto sidewalks below.  Right?  I mean you might have noticed that the posting has been a bit, um, scant around here recently. 

Not to worry. We here at Dad Revolution like many of you I suspect, have been a bit caught up in the rush and hum of the holiday season.  We will still be here once the clock strikes midnight Saturday morning and Old Lang Syne courses steadily across the country like The Wave swallowing up fans at a local sports stadium.

And, even though I am officially off work this week, I am not imune to the time constraints that this time of year ushers in.  With that in mind, rather than a new post today I am going to repost one of my favorites from the past year over at my personal blog ‘Luke, I am Your Father’.  It is from July, titled Catch 42, and is about father and son bonding.  It will also be included in a best of the year post I plan to publish there in the next couple of days. 

So, forgive my laziness.  But if you enjoy it, leave me a comment with a link to one of your favorite posts from the past year. I would love to read them.

My son turned three just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw?”, I said
“I got a lot to do”, “but…that’s okay”

 And perhaps he thought, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

My apologies to Harry Chapin, but just the other day – Lukas’ 3rd birthday – we were recovering in our living room from the Pirate party we had had earlier that afternoon. My parents were also here and we were all pretty exhausted. In fact my dad was starting to doze off on the couch.

Lukas, on the other hand, was up from his nap and looking for fun. After playing with a few of the toys he had received earlier in the day he got up and ran off to the foyer. When he returned he was holding a baseball and two gloves, one just his size.
“Baseball!” he exclaimed, holding the mitts over his head.

“Do you want to play catch Buddy?”

“Yeah”

“Okay, in one minute. Stay here”

And with that, I walked to the foyer myself and returned with another adult sized glove. I tossed it to my old man, who had perked up upon hearing the interchange. A smile crept over his face at this. At this point, with new life breathed into us, we all made our way to the back yard for our very first three generational game of catch with a baseball.
Lukas was pretty excited, and seemed to be doing pretty well with his throws, but still needed some work with keeping the mitt on and catching with it. However, what he lacked in polish, he more than made up for with enthusiasm and creativity in his goofy wind-ups while preparing to throw the ball.

In between the short throws and catches to Lukas, my dad and I were able to stretch things out to a longer distance and begin feel the zing of horsehide smacking leather. It was, after all, my dad who taught me to throw and catch a baseball. Probably at around the same age that Lukas is now. It felt really good. It always does when we can work in a game of catch.

“You do realize this is my Little League glove?” I said to my father, holding up my mitt as we exchanged tosses. “Really?” He replied. “Yeah, I won it that year for selling the most candy bars. I think you told all the vendors who stopped by the farm that they had to buy several bars or you wouldn’t do business with them anymore”. And at that we both laughed.

I’ve always had a great relationship with my father. He is an exceptional man who has always been there for me. He still is. And though we have good conversations on those occasions where we are not too busy going about our busy lives, some things most often go unsaid.

It’s funny. As a grown man I can say three words 10 times a day to my 3 year old son, but still feel awkward about saying the same three words to my own father. That’s where baseball comes in handy.

Because between a grown father and son, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a hardball tossed back and forth from 60 feet away. At least that’s what I’ve found to be the case.

And as I hung up the glove it occurred to me
He’s type of dad that I want to be
I’m going to be like him, yeah
You know I’m going to be like him

Smells Like Fatherhood

My 3 year old son Lukas and I were driving home from work the other day chatting about our respective days. Having had a long one, and yearning for his touch I reached back and held out my hand. His tiny hand grabbed my fingers, and held them for a brief fleeting moment.

My 3 year old son Lukas and I were driving home from work the other day chatting about our respective days. Having had a long one, and yearning for his touch I reached back and held out my hand. His tiny hand grabbed my fingers, and held them for a brief fleeting moment. Then, he called out “Daddy, I am transferring my power through my hand, into your arm, through your other arm, down the steering wheel and into the tank!”

I was focused and engaged in my post dinner routine of washing up the dishes a couple of nights ago, when a loud crashing and banging startled my attention away from the task at hand. Lukas and his mother were playing and he had emptied out his metal lunchbox full of matchbox cars onto the floor. I continued on with my task, only to have my attention drawn away once again. My wife and son had lined up all the cars by color, and Lukas was there at my feet, looking up at me with his head tilted back. “Are you done? What color do you want to be?” “Blue!” I responded, leaving the rest of the dishes for later.

As Mrs LIAYF, Lukas, and I drove to a birthday party for a little friend of his this past weekend, our son looking out the window at the passing world announced “The world is all in a big commotion.”  I had to smile.

We experienced our first unannounced visitor a few nights ago. Lukas, who has enjoyed his freedom from his crib since July has learned how to open his sticky door and wander. Apparently he has been working on his stealthiness as well and he opened the gate at the top of the stairs, snuck down without us hearing, and peeked around the corner at his mother and I on the couch, faces buried in our laptops. When we noticed him his look was a perfect blend of ‘Look how clever I am’ and ‘I’ve been had’.

Having nights where he is in no mood to go right to sleep, our son has quickly learned our weaknesses. He will either 1) Suddenly have to go pee several times, or 2) Still be hungry despite eating a hearty dinner. I, of course, will most often cave when he says he is hungry and often bring him his favorite treat a bowl of wheat cereal. I will tell him he has to stay in bed while I go and get the cereal, which he always does. Then, as I turn on the hallway light and open the door I am always greeted by a boy with a smile a mile wide because I came.

What do all of the above vingnettes have in common? Nothing really, besides a happy father and son.  They are just me, stopping along the path of fatherhood to smell the sweet flowers which constitute otherwise normal everyday occurances in raising a child.

And I have to say, they sure smell great.

Ill Informed

I, SeattleDad, will admit it. I once was a junkie. A news junkie that is. I just couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

I, SeattleDad, will admit it.  I once was a junkie. A news junkie that is.  I just couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

When I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s on our small dairy farm the local news was almost always on. At 6:00 AM, 5:00 PM and again at 11:00 PM I would learn which storms were on their way, who was robbed,  injured, or killed in the big city – and most importantly how our regional sports teams had fared.

Those time slots were then followed by the national news, which to this farm kid was even more foreign, fascinating, and a must see. At first I watched only because my parents did. But eventually watching became habitual for me, and by the time I was a teenager I completely craved being informed about what was happening in the world around me.

After all, everything out there seemed fast-paced, important, and exciting. Unlike what I perceived to be my daily existence.  But then as I grew up and grew older, the things I saw on the news were generally not as new and definitely not as exciting to me as they had been. Mostly, I started to find them depressing.

I stopped watching local and national news on a regular basis somewhere in my 30’s.  However, like a true junkie there were still stretches where I relapsed and would watch a lot of cable news. This was mostly when some compelling national event had taken place.

But then I became a father, and Mrs. LIAYF and I cancelled our cable subscription. After that point I began getting most of my news from the Sunday paper, on the radio, or over the Internet.  It wasn’t quite the extensive coverage that I had known through television, but it was enough to keep me functional and knowledgeable about the worlds events.

After that I started blogging seriously and the time I had once devoted to online news gradually diminished while, instead, I spent my online time reading and commenting on other parent blogs or writing posts for my own projects.

About that same time my son Lukas became mobile and active and conversational. And suddenly my Sunday mornings were spent interacting with him or preparing for whatever exciting things we had planned for the day. At that point the only news outlet I had was from the radio.

But then this past August my wife and I made the decision that Lukas would go back to his old pre-school. It is across the street from my work. The commute is generally 30 minutes between our house and my place of business. That hour was the time I had carved out to listen to the radio news. News that I enjoyed listening to.

We started out commuting with the radio on. But as the days turned into weeks, the radio proved to be a hamper to my conversing with my 3 year old about his day. I began to turn it off more and more often so that he and I could look and talk about the world outside our windows. Or of the dreams he had had the night before. Or of who he played with at pre-school that afternoon.

Then, last night Mrs. LIAYF asked me about a story she had heard on the radio. Apparenly it was a pretty big deal. I had no clue what she was talking about. And when I thought about it I realize that I hadn’t even listened to the radio news in several days.  Due to the confluence of the events described above, I found myself seriously ill informed about the world around me.

But then I realized that what I was informed about were about the events and interactions that were shaping my sons current view of the world around him.

And that this was the kind of feel good news that I would rather be addicted to.

Be Smart With Your Praise

Do we think our son is smart? Hell yes we do. We think he is brilliant, which I am sure most parents feel about their children. Do we tell him he is smart? Of course we do. We just try to avoid it most of the time, instead opting to praise him for specific accomplishment and effort that he puts forth. We don’t want him to begin to think things will or should automatically come easy to him because of his intelligence.

Wow, you're doing great!

*****************************************************************

I left a comment on a post by a fellow dad blogger the other day in which I mentioned that Mrs. LIAYF and I try to avoid praising our 3yo son for being smart.  I can’t find the comment now, so I am not sure what I specifically said, but he responded to me on twitter to ask what the logic was behind our position.

At the time, I gave him a short answer (it was Twitter after all) that what our son has control over how hard he works, but not how inherently smart he is.

Do we think our son is smart?  Hell yes we do.  We think he is brilliant, which I am sure most parents feel about their children. Do we tell him he is smart? Of course we do.  We just try to avoid it most of the time, instead opting to praise him for specific accomplishment and effort that he puts forth.  We don’t want him to begin to think things will or should automatically come easy to him because of his intelligence.

Based on her childhood experiences, Mrs. LIAYF brought this philosophy with her as we prepared to become first time parents.  It was only reinforced to us when we came across an article that was published back in February of 2007, just before Lukas was born, in The New Yorker titled. ‘How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise’.  This is a fantastic article and I highly recommend you take the time to click over and read it.  It is an extensive and thoroughly researched article, however here is a passage that centers on the main challenge that comes from too much generalized praise:

In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.

This next passage basically sums up what Mrs. LIAYF and I find ourselves most susceptible to as full time working parents.  It is often in these situations where we have to check ourselves to make sure that we are praising not just in general, but truly recognizing why it is that our son is wonderful. What he specifically did that day which made us proud.

Offering praise has become a sort of panacea for the anxieties of modern parenting. Out of our children’s lives from breakfast to dinner, we turn it up a notch when we get home. In those few hours together, we want them to hear the things we can’t say during the day—We are in your corner, we are here for you, we believe in you.

Personally, his mother and I both feel that even though our son has demonstrated,  from birth,  that he an extremely perceptive and intelligent child – amazing us each and every day – that this fact alone will certainly not ensure his long term happiness and success in life. 

I grew up working from an early age on my family’s dairy farm, and thus know the value and rewards of working hard.  This is the type of mindset we would rather our little guy develop.  Because no matter who you are, the fact is that there will always be someone who is smarter.  No one can control that.

What we do have control of is how hard we work, or want to work to ensure that we place ourselves in the right situations so that success and happiness will have an easier time finding us.

Tell me revolutionary parents: What strategies surrounding praise do you employ with your kids?

THEY Were Right

I suspect like many readers, or wives of readers have done, just before she became Mrs. LIAYF, my lovely soon-to-be bride pulled me aside to have a talk with me. Yes, it was that talk.

I suspect like many readers, or wives of readers have done, just before she became Mrs. LIAYF, my lovely soon-to-be bride pulled me aside to have a talk with me. Yes, it was that talk.

“One last time honey” She began. “You are certain that you want to have kids? Because if you don’t, now is the time to let me know.” “Yes, of course I do.” I replied in a resolute manner, understanding that this was what she needed at the time. The stress from the impending wedding was weighing on her. She needed my solid support.  That was nearly 12 years ago. But now, after all this time has passed, I have to finally come clean about something.

I didn’t really know!  Sorry Sweets.  I feel much better now that I have that off my chest.

But wait. It’s not nearly as bad as I may have just made it sound. That’s because what I did know, without a shadow of a doubt was that 1. I loved her completely. And 2. That when the time came, I would be a good father. I knew my character.

There was always a difference between Mrs. LIAYF and myself from the moment we became a serious couple (which was nearly from day 1 of our relationship). She knew, with utmost certainty, that she wanted to have children. It was a biological calling. One that, as it turned out, took several heart wrenching years to fulfill. For me, however, it was different. Before becoming a father I had never had an internal desire to have kids.

*******

I had a new audience for my lame humor early on.

 ******

As I said before, I knew that I would be a good father, and that once my kids came along I would love them. But there was no compelling drive behind it. There were even times during our struggle to conceive where I, as ludicrous as it sounded, wondered if my lack of a biological drive was partly to blame for our troubles.

As it turns out, I was right to trust myself. After 3 1/2 years I can look back on my experiences and say, with certainty, that I am a good father. Maybe even a great one. And to say that I love my son would be a historic understatement. If you have read my personal blog, you know the depth of my love him. He is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me, and I would move mountains with my hands to make sure he is safe and happy.

I know that I am not unique. That the mindset I had before becoming a father is where a lot of men have found themselves on the issue of bringing a new life into this world. They may wonder if a child doesn’t deserve a parent who has always dreamed of the day they would be born. Perhaps some guy reading this post even finds himself there right now.

The only advice I can offer those guys, is to trust themselves. Trust the logic that they may draw upon when thinking things through. The logic that says even if I am not overly eager to have kids now, once a child arrives I will surely love him, or her.

That’s because, at least in my experience, what THEY say (and I guess I am included as a THEY now) is true. Things do change when you have a child. It may not be clear until the first time your newborn gazes into your eyes, or squeezes your index finger in his tiny fist.  Or perhaps the first time he wraps his arms around your neck and hugs you tight, or laughs uncontrollably at one of your horrible jokes.

But make no mistake, things most certainly did change.  And so did I.

The Presidential Interview

Chris Ballew, front man of the popular alternative rock group The Presidents of the United States of America is not only a talented musician and lyricist, he is also a father. Graciously, he agreed to an interview with Dad Revolution.

Chris Ballew, front man of the popular alternative rock group The Presidents of the United States of America is not only a talented musician and lyricist, he is also a father.  And, given the signature quirky style which he employed to make The Presidents such a huge hit, it doesn’t surprise many people I talk to to find out that he is now also making music targeted specifically towards kids.

Over on my blog ‘Luke, I am Your Father’ I recently did a review of his upcoming 3rd studio release under the kid music moniker ‘Caspar Babypants’.  Let’s just say, I liked it.

So, when I received an email from Chris thanking me for the review, I summoned my inner Carpe Diem and asked him to answer a few questions for Dad Revolution.  They are about being a musician, a philosopher, and more importantly, a father.  

1.  Chris, what was your inspiration for shifting your focus from the Alternative Rock, which has made the Presidents so popular, to Kindie pop?

Well, I have been tinkering in the studio the whole time that the Presidents had all that success. I was looking for the next musical destination although I didn’t really know it. It turned out that when I found the right combination if innocence and simplicity and sampling from the past it turned out to be kids music!

2. And, what is the genesis behind the name Caspar Babypants?

I changed my name to Caspar Babypants in the early 90s actually but I couldnt get my family to call me that so I gave up on it. I picked Caspar because I never really liked my first name that much. I thought Chris was a little blank. Then I wore a pair of hand made babys pants on my head one winter in Boston and the kids in the neighborhood started calling me “babypants” so I put the two together and it fit! And the initials are the same!

3.  One of my favorite songs from your Caspar Babypants debut is a duet you sing with your daughter?  Would you, as a father, encourage her to become a musician if she were so inclined?

Sure thing. But I put NO pressure on them to do music. She is a great conceptual thinker and that might come out in music or something else that I can’t imagine now. They do not have the clear choice thing going on like I did when I was a kid. I knew it was going to be music since I have memories. 

4.  As your kids grow, will your musical focus once again move away from Kindie, or is this a niche you see yourself occupying permanently?

My choice to do this music is based on a lifelong search for this specific chemistry of sound and topics and feel. At this point in time I feel like I have found my home and I am going to stay in it as long as I can! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

5.  What are your biggest challenges balancing your time as a working father?  Do you feel you have struck a good balance between doing what you love to do and giving of yourself to your family, or is that something you still work on?

Well its great that I can bring my family to shows and the kids can play along! So in that way I can get them involved in my “work”. But there is a bunch of stuff that I have to do that has nothing to do with music (INTERVIEWS!!) and balancing that with time with the kids is a challenge. There is always something on the to do list so I just have to take a deep breath put it away and take time to be fully engaged with the kids.

6.   Do you, or will you, tour while your kids are young?  If you do tour, how do you arrange your time so you can interact with your kids?

I “tour” with the Presidents a bit. A few weekends here and there we will get on a plane and go play but Caspar shall never tour in the conventional sense and if I do i will try to take them with me. We are a two household family so finding time to take them with me might be hard. I really dont want Caspar to depend on touring for income. I really make this music to work in the home and car for stressed out families and the live thing is an afterthought really.

7.  Any advice you would give to a new dad

Wake up with your baby EVERYDAY!

8.  What kind of life philosophy do you want your kids to learn and grow up with?

Death is nothing more than a mystery. Leave it alone. Slow down and breathe. Enjoy being as much as doing.

9.  Your albums have your own quirky style that really appeals to both kids and grown-ups.  Are there any artists that you recommend parents consider when adding to their “kid” music?

Charlie Poole. Ella Jenkins. Spider John Koerner. Bob Dylan (first album only), The Beatles (DUH!), Ravi Shankar, Woodie Guthrie and THE PRESIDENTS!!

 10.   And,  a bonus question.  Do you have a kitty, and how much ATTENTION does it demand?

NO KITTY! My wife is allergic! If I did I would have a little white cat and name it Susan Williamson. 

Thanks Chris.  You are always welcome to come back and write a guest post for Dad Revolution.

Wait, there’s yet another bonus.  Just leave a comment below and I’ll enter you in a giveaway for a copy of the soon to be released album ‘This is Fun’ by Caspar Babypants.

Smiling Eyes: They’re Watching You

It often happens subtly. In most cases they don’t even know that I am witnessing their reaction. But these small, genuine moments take place nearly every day.

It often happens subtly.  In most cases, they don’t even know that I am witnessing their reaction.  But these small, genuine moments take place nearly every day.

These moments, as short as they are, serve as a reinforcement to Mrs. LIAYF and I that this period of time is unfortunately all too fleeting in the grand scheme of our lives.  And, that we shouldn’t for one moment take it for granted.

Whether it be an older couple, children long since grown, who give each other a look of acknowledgement and memory as we pass by with our little guy.  Or the young couple, perhaps dating or newly married who do not yet have children of their own,  who simultaneously smile while turning their heads over their shoulders as we walk by. Or even the stoic teenager who tries to, but can’t, stifle a smile when my little guy speaks to him with his still developing vocabulary.

We are currently experiencing, multiple times a day, events like these which brought brief moments of happiness to those people’s days.

For instance, just this morning while simply driving through the city on our way to my son’s daycare, I witnessed two such interactions. We stopped at one stoplight next to a woman perhaps in her 30’s impeccably dressed in her business suit. She looked serious. However, when she looked over at my 3-year-old, wide eyed in his car seat, she broke into a huge smile.

Not three stoplights further up the same street we pulled up to a middle-aged man driving with what appeared to his be his teenage son in the passenger seat. Lukas was reading a toy catalog at the time. The man looked over, smiled, then tapped his son on the shoulder and pointed out my little guy. The two seemed to share a moment.

Unknown to them, I shared that moments too.  Watching these types of reactions gives me great joy.  And, when these moments do take place, I rarely fail to reflect on what I am lucky to be experiencing. Maybe it’s because I am an older first time dad, maybe not – but no matter the reason, I keep thinking to myself “Wow! That is pretty cool.” 

Watching my child grow and develop from an infant into a little boy has been a daily blessing for me. I know it will not always be so magical. Or such joy inducing. But while it is, I will be here soaking it in.

And also, peering out of the corner of my eye to catch other peoples’ reactions.

Memories I’ll Remember

My son is only three years old, and something strange occurred to me recently. I can’t really remember how I spent most of my free time before I was a dad. It’s odd because I must have had tons of it. Free time that is.

My son is only three years old, and something strange occurred to me recently.  I can’t really remember how I spent most of my free time before I was a dad. It’s odd because I must have had tons of it. Free time that is.

I mean if I think of it, back then I didn’t have to do all the extra maintenance that comes from having a 3 year old boy. Like the extra laundry and dishes and food prep.  Similarly I didn’t have to spend my evenings preparing a snack for him the next day, just in time to then participate in his nightly bedtime routine.

Or the time spent running him to kid centered activities, such as birthday parties, soccer practice, and play dates.

As most of you probably know, cleaning up spills, strewn toys, and piles of books, is a constant time drain. None of that existed three and a half years ago for me. Wow, come to think of it, I must have been flush with time to enjoy life’s finer things.

But how exactly did I spend that time?

Again, I can’t really remember. I see shelves in my house lined with books that must have been read. Cabinets full of DVD’s (and yes VHS tapes) that I can recall the plots for. I must have seen them back before I was a dad. Somehow, a couple of houses got remodeled. And there were vacations. I’m fairly certain they were to somewhere sunny.

It’s a fact that I was in better shape before having a child. Of course I was in my 30’s, not my 40’s. I probably spent some of my free time working out.

Being a parent can easily become who you are. What you are all about. In the mean time drowning out memories of who you were before. Sometimes I worry about this happening to me. But not for long. As you can guess, I don’t have the time to dwell on it.

Plus, even though I am not entirely clear on what I did do with all my free time before welcoming my beautiful boy into the world, I know with certainty what I didn’t do.

I didn’t play any laughter infused games of hide and seek. I didn’t teach anyone the finer points of hitting a ball with a bat. I didn’t play Stomp Rockets in my back yard until my legs ached. I didn’t roast marshmallows around a camp fire. I didn’t serve as Mission Control, counting down over and over again for an Astronauts trips to the Moon and beyond. And I didn’t hold my son in my arms and comfort him after he skinned his knee riding his balance bike.

No, I did none of those things with my free time before becoming a father.

But somehow, 10 or 20 years form now, I’m pretty sure these are the things that I will remember.

Lucky Boy

The fact is that we both have good jobs, live in a house that we own, eat fresh and healthy food, drink clean water, and have access to quality education and endless resources to make our lives full and enriching is something that an amazingly small percentage of the world’s population can similarly claim.

Lucky 1

“He’s a lucky boy.” Mrs. LIAYF said to me, as we both were glancing over at our son who was animatedly ‘putting out a fire’ in his play area.

It was one of those grounding moments.  You know, the kind that makes you take pause and recalibrate your mindset once again. I, as I suspect most people do, need that every so often.  That’s because as much as I get caught up in the daily list of tasks, together with my beautiful wife, of keeping the hamster that is life racing steadfastly along its wheel, it’s necessary to stop every so often and take stock of how fortunate we actually are.

Given where we live we don’t have to look far to see people who, on the surface at least, are doing quite well for themselves.  We are surrounded by them.  They drive very expensive vehicles, live in huge houses, dress in the latest fashions, and carry the latest gear.  And although we are far from acheiving such luxuries, it is extremely easy to fall into a mindset of striving to be in a position to provide the very best things for our family. It’s a natural goal that I’m sure most of us share. We want the best for those we love.  However, it can be easy during all the striving for something better, to briefly lose focus of exactly what you already have.

But moments like the one I described above serve as a necessary anchor for me.  Our son IS extremely lucky.  And so are we.  Yes, my wife and I both work very hard to provide the security that we have.  But the fact that we can, and that we live in a place and a time where it is possible to do so, puts us in the smallest of minorities when compared to the world’s present and previous populations.

The fact is that we both have good jobs, live in a house that we own, eat fresh and healthy food, drink clean water, and have access to quality education and endless resources to make our lives full and enriching is something that an amazingly small percentage of the world’s population can similarly claim.  Sure, there will always be those around us who will have different things, better things, which if we had would make our lives even easier.  But, occasionally stopping to take inventory of what you do have can remind you of just how good you have it, especially compared to those in the world who are really struggling.

It’s also times like these when Mrs. LIAYF and I once again re-evaluate what we can do to help those who are in real need of a bit of help. We believe that is important.  And we want our son to understand and believe that as well.  No matter what our budget is, and it has fluctuated quite a bit in recent years, we always build into it a line item for charitable giving. Some years it is not much, while others we can afford a bit more.

This is an example we believe is important to set for our 3 year old son.  For his first 3 birthday’s we have asked that those attending bring diapers in lieu of gifts, so that we can donate them to a local diaper bank.  We have involved him in the harvesting of excess fruit from our plum tree for our local food bank.  And we make donations in his name a part of special occasion gift giving. 

And now that he is old enough to understand, we plan to have him help choose which causes our financial donations will support.  And along the way build a clear understanding of why it is imperative that we do so.  All tolled, our contributions are not much. They should be more. We will give more as the means become available.

But we want our son to grow up with a solid understanding of how lucky he really is. With a true perspective of his place in a world of limited resources.

 It is one of the most valuable gifts we can give him.

Behind Every Revolutionary Dad

It was then that she walked up from behind. “Lukas you can choose to stay in your rocket” she announced, “But that will leave no time to read stories before bed. Now what do YOU want to choose?” It was at that point that my son opened the door, and without saying a word made his way to the stairs to start his bedtime routine.

“Buddy, I said come out of there.” I repeated for the second time, my voice getting a bit louder. “You need to listen to Daddy!” We were both tired, my three year old son and I,  as well as a bit cranky stemming from the very recent transition we were making. No longer was he staying home all day with Mom, but rather I was getting him up early each morning to take him to preschool.

It was then that she walked up from behind. “Lukas you can choose to stay in your rocket” she announced, “But that will leave no time to read stories before bed. Now what do YOU want to choose?” It was at that point that my son opened the door, and without saying a word made his way to the stairs to start his bedtime routine.

“Remember, give him choices” she gently reminded me as I once again stood there in awe of my wife’s ability to effectively communicate with our child, no matter how tired or resistant he is being.

True, this site was created to highlight the Dad Revolution and talk about how we, as dads are bucking the stereotypes that abound about the role that fathers play in the upbringing of their children.  The Dad Revolution writers are all extremely progressive fathers with unbounding love for our children. That’s precisely why we take the time to write about our experiences.

But as most of you know well enough, the best parenting isn’t done alone.  It’s a team effort. I would be willing to bet, that to a man, the dads here would agree that we couldn’t bring to the table the daily content that we do without the solid support of our partners. I certainly know that as dedicated a father as I am, my job would be exponentially more difficult without my wife, affectionately known as Mrs. LIAYF over at my blog Luke, I am Your Father, at my side.

In fact, before knowing her and having a child together I had very little concept of what simply being a parent, much less a good one, was all about.


Mrs. LIAYF with Lukas

I have learned so much from not only watching her interact with our son, but also from discussing with her our separate philosophies of how to handle difficult situations as they arise. We have, and will continue to, grow together on this parenting journey. She is, as I love to say A Peach, and I certainly wouldn’t be a Dad Blogger today without her love and undying support.

So, as you are enjoying the deeply personal reflections on parenting from the perspective of a group of dedicated fathers, don’t think for a moment that we are doing this all on our own.

The Dad Revolution team is bigger than most people realize.

Music: To Kid or Not to Kid

I have never been a big fan of the idea of kid music. Of course that was mostly before I had a kid myself and thus was exposed to the genre. But like most aspect of my life after procreation, the times they are a changin.

I have never been a big fan of the idea of kid music.  Of course that was mostly before I had a kid myself and thus was exposed to the genre.  But like most aspect of my life after procreation, the times they are a changin.
 
For instance, yesterday, on my blog Luke, I am Your Father, I posted a review and giveaway of the latest studio album release by the legendary folk artist Pete Seeger. Pete, who earned a Grammy for his last studio release ‘At 89’ has shifted his focus and has now put out an album geared towards kids called ‘Rivertown Kids’.  If it piques your interest, you can click on through here, check out my review, and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the CD for yourself.

Doing that review also got me thinking about the state of kid music these days. Maybe it is just the fact that I have a child now, but It seems that there is an explosion of new groups on the Kindie scene.  Bands which seem to be increasingly making music with more appeal to the folks with the buying power. Yes, of course I am talking about the parents. 

Personally, at our house, we most often are just playing good music that we, as parents, enjoy.  Crossover stuff with universal appeal which seems to translate as music our son enjoys too. This includes a lot of folk, blues, rock, and Americana.  However, now that our little guy is talking and understanding so much of what he hears, he is beginning to relate more and more to the lyrics of the music we play. Given that, he is also beginning to enjoy the offbeat humor of much of what he hears on kid focused releases.  Thus, we are turning to them more and more.

Obviously, I kid.

But, since Luke has only just turned three we don’t yet have a collection of kid music to match our collection of kid books. However, we seem to be picking up new releases on a consistent basis, as well as checking out some artists from our local library. That being said, I thought I’d pay it forward and possibly introduce you to a few of the artists that we have found who we have enjoyed as a family.  They are in no particular order. 

Check them out, let me know what you think, and leave a comment telling me who your favorite kid musicians are.

Elizabeth Mitchell

Dan Zanes

Board of Education

Caspar BabyPants (Chris Ballew from The Presidents of the United States of America) I once tailed him so well that Starsky and Hutch would have been proud.

Recess Monkey

The Not It’s

Gustafer Yellowgold

Sarah Lee Guthrie

The Brian Waite band

They Might be Giants