Dear Jack: Why Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Is So Relevant For You Right Now

4 years, 3 months.

Pee-wees-Playhouse

Dear Jack,

During the blizzard last week, in which we were snowed in for 3 days, I decided to introduce you to a “new” (but actually, classic) show on Netflix: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

I didn’t realize at the time just how relevant a show like this would be for you: a 4 year-old boy.

The show came out in 1986, when I was about your age. But apparently, it must have always been on while a show I liked better came on- because until last week, I had never seen a full episode of it. (Though I did see his circus movie multiple times: I even had the poster on my bedroom door!)

You are officially obsessed.

To an adult like me, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is trippy, to say the least. But to you, it’s a marvelous display of absurd fantasy that is undeniably… very relatable to you.

PEEWEEPLAYHOUSE

There are Claymation dinosaurs that live inside the wall. Yes, dinosaurs- all 4 year-old boys love dinosaurs!

And there is a talking cow. And a talking chair, named Chairy.

That’s the same way you name your stuffed animals: Pandy the panda bear, Ellie the elephant, Annie the anteater…

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Not to mention, Pee-Wee also has a barking dog chair.

You have to appreciate Laurence Fishburne playing a cowboy, with an appropriate mid-Eighties mullet.

There is of course the very strange routine of having the mail lady arrive to announce the king of cartoons arriving.

Once the king walks in, he always seems confused by why he’s there; only to show a random clip of an old 1950’s cartoon.

Perhaps one of your favorite parts of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is when the door-to-door salesman arrives; in which an instantly annoyed Pee-Wee shuts the door in his face.

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The whole show is ultimately a predictable/unpredictable routine of random characters showing up.

We even sat down together and watched the 1988 movie Big Top Pee-Wee, that I just referenced a second ago. I have to admit, it was just as good as I remember it from when I was a kid.

I predict it’s only a matter of time before you start repeating, “I know you are but what am I?”

Love,

Daddy

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Review Of Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 DVD

Review Of Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 DVD

On March 3rd, the newest “best of” Elmo collection hits the streets. Of course, one of the benefits of being a successful blogger is that I am able to get my big hands on certain merchandise ahead of time; in order to share with my readers what the new product is all about.

Last night I sat down with my 4 year-old son Jack to indulge in the Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 DVD. As you can see in the pictures below, we had a lot of fun!

What caught me by surprise was how hilarious it was; not just for my son, but equally for me as well.

My son’s favorite part was watching Elmo drive in a car with Taye Diggs, as they zoomed past dancing cows who proudly displayed their udders. Jack couldn’t stop laughing.

For me, my favorite was the musical collaboration that Elmo did with Justin Bieber. Seriously, how could anyone not enjoy this?

Part of the charm of Elmo is his ability to remain fun and loveable, despite his long term, world-wide, celebrity pop culture status.

Granted, this DVD is full of educational lessons, as you would expect from Sesame Street.

If I could only describe Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 in 3 words, based on my son and I watching it last night, here’s what I’d say:

Fun, hilarious, educational.

Review Of Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 DVD

So by default, it’s also obviously captivating and entertaining.

The Sesame Street: The Best Of Elmo 3 DVD (and digital), from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street) will be released officially on March 3, 2015 for $14.98 SRP. It also includes the full-length feature, “Elmo and Abby’s Birthday Fun”.

It’s over 2 hours of fun, featuring Elmo the whole time! Now, I’m ready to watch Elmo and Justin Bieber again…

Dear Jack: The 4th Week Of Living In Our New House

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Dear Jack,

We’re just about fully moved in by now. We’re still waiting on our living room couch, though. It’s been delayed a total of 7 weeks now, due to it being such a popular piece of furniture. Actually, it was out of stock the day we bought it. Today I was able to convince the store to ship to us for free. It worked!

Still have to wait another month for it to get here, though.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

In the meantime, the matching chair has been waiting in our living room for its counterpart. In fact, Mommy did a really cool job of having your “growing up” pictures. She created an abstract heart shape. It looks really neat.

Mommy didn’t even mean to; it just ended up that way. I think it’s very appropriate, though. In the middle is a sign that reads, “All because two people fell in love.”

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

With it is very true, it’s also reference to a Brad Paisley song from the first CD Mommy ever bought me.

This has been the week of getting all of photo frames off the floor and onto the walls. Therefore, this is the first week we’ve been in our new house where you’ve actually been able to run around like a little boy is supposed to do.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

It wasn’t a surprise to me that you insisted on taking me upstairs so I could help you dress up in your superhero costume that your friend Madison got you for your birthday.

We snuck down stairs so you could surprise Mommy, who was in the middle of making dinner.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

You darted from the living room to the kitchen no less than 17 times before dinner time.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Afterwards, we made vegan cookies for the first time in our new house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Meanwhile at your new school, Rainbow Child Care Center, your teacher Ms. Aimee bought a new gecko!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Here’s what she told me about your interactions with it this week:

Jack wanted to make a boat out of cardboard. He worked very hard to cut different shapes out of the cardboard, tape, and construct his boat. He also got to hold our new Crested Gecko! He giggled as the gecko climbed up due to his Velcro like feet. Jack is an absolute joy having in my class. I’m excited to see how he grows throughout the year!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Our new life is quite enjoyable. Mommy and I were just talking last night about what an uphill journey the past couple of years have been for us. We were new to being parents, while working hard to get out of debt and find a bigger house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

We’re there now. Now we can take a minute to breathe… and focus our attention other things we have formerly had to put on the backburner.

In fact, I’m working on something right now that, if it turns out, could be really good for our family. We’ll see how that works out, in a few weeks or months…

Love,

Daddy

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

Last week I revealed that my wife and I sold our townhouse after it was on the market for just 3 days; for more than our asking price. See Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse… It’s Official! Thank The Lord!

And yes, we made a profit. Today, I would like to highlight what enabled that to happen.

I have to start off with what is, for me, the most obvious part of it: God orchestrated all the events I’m about to talk about.

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#1: We prayed for the right people to find our house. More important than focusing our prayers on our house selling for our personal benefit in our time, we focused on the future buyers being blessed by finding it. That way, they would know our home was the right one once they found it. Here’s an email excerpt from the buyer of our townhouse:

“As for selling points these are the things that really sold us: Open concept, large bedrooms, more bang for your buck with a townhouse versus detached home, safe neighborhood close to entertainment and work, reasonable HOA fees. The extra half bath was also huge; huge garden tub and double vanity in the bathroom.

We looked at 2 others. One was unimpressive and we actually put in an offer on another one that was an end unit. It was a blessing in disguise that we missed out on it because this home really is so much more perfect for us.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#2: We had an excellent real estate agent. I have known Dave Stanley with Reliant Reality for most of the time I have lived here in Nashville, since 2005. He is assertive and calculated. He went through the process of figuring out exactly the perfect price point for our model in our neighborhood. We actually received more than our asking price for our townhouse which set a new record for that model in our neighborhood.

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#3: We had kept our house immaculately clean. I mean this as a compliment to my wife: She is obsessed with cleaning to the same degree as Monica from Friends. We don’t smoke, we don’t have pets, and we clean everything weekly. Here is another excerpt from the buyer:

“The fact that [your home] came from what looked like a good family who kept it very clean and up to date was huge. At least 50% of our decision if not more.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#4: We staged our home well. It went on the market in October, so we made sure we set out a pumpkin, as well as seasonal flowers, in our staged home. As for the bigger stuff, my dad and I put in a backsplash in the kitchen (seen in the picture above, where I had my smoothie station set up). Not to mention, we painted some of the rooms to bring them to life, but not that same dark red color that most people in the neighborhood used: Another email excerpt from the buyer:

“YES! I totally forgot to mention the backsplash. This was the only house we saw that had a backsplash. That really set the house apart from the rest. I can’t believe I forgot that! It’s one of my favorite features!… We [also] really liked the paint y’all had which made the transition easy.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#5: We were debt-free when we put the house on the market. Like most “normal” young couples, we were tens of thousands of dollars in debt for the first several years of our marriage. Thanks to following Dave Ramsey, on our 5th wedding anniversary we official paid off our final debt (as seen when I originally posted about it on my corporately sponsored blog, The Dadabase on Parents.com). That enabled us to be better prepared financially for when we found our new home. Had we not been debt-free, the time would not have been right for us to be able to afford a bigger home when we did; taking advantage of a good deal when we saw it. Additionally, we were able to put our townhouse on the market when the market was ready; not simply just when we were ready.

Hopefully our experience in selling our home in just 3 days for more than the asking price can help you. Individual results may vary.

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Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Dear Jack,

We are in the middle of a snow storm; the kind that hits the South pretty hard about once a decade. While Mommy is able to work from home this week, I have no choice but to take vacation days.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

In the attempt to drive to work, my car got stuck in the ice and snow. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I was unable to drive forward. I had no choice but to let me car back down further into our cul-de-sac.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

There’s just no way around it: We’re snowed in.

I admit, this event has inspired Mommy and me to seriously consider making one of our next vehicles (whenever that time comes, down the road) a Toyota Tacoma with 4 wheel drive.

http://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2014/04/25/family-friendly-car-review-2014-tacoma-double-cab-4x4-v6/

Not only have I always romanticized about them, the Toyota Tacoma is my favorite vehicle I have ever reviewed, which I di back nearly a year ago:

See Family Friendly Car Review: 2014 Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 V6.

While the main roads have been driveable, it’s been literally impossible to escape our neighborhood, which you have to drive through two others just to get to.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

I suppose your current favorite Netflix show, The Octonauts, has taught you a lot about animals. So it’s no surprise that you decided to build a bird’s nest, using “snow eggs.”

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

While it definitely feels strange to not be working right now (and obviously your school is closed), it is nice to be able to appreciate this sort of forced week off with you and Mommy.

Right before the storm hit, we found the perfect small couch/love seat for our bonus room upstairs. We were able to buy the floor model, which gave us nearly a 50% discount.

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The only problem was getting it home. I drove my Honda Element separately, and with the front seats up as far as they would go, I was able to awkwardly squeeze in for the most uncomfortable 30 minute drive of my life.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

It’s fun to see each room of our house coming together.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Hopefully the rain and above-freezing temperatures this weekend will allow us to live our normal lives again next week.

As for now, you sure are enjoying this winter wonderland!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Dear Jack,

Last Friday, you celebrated Valentine’s Day with your new friends at Rainbow Child Care Center.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You gave Transformers Valentines to your friends this year. I have to laugh at the thought of one alien robot expressing affection to another alien robot…

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Your teacher Ms. Aimee set up a very special Valentine’s photo booth for you and your friends. From what I can see in these pictures you took with Mommy, it looks like you had a lot of fun.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Then on Saturday, which actually was Valentine’s Day, our family went back to Mellow Mushroom for a special family dinner.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

When we first arrived there in downtown Franklin, you wanted to check out the animals in the toy crane machines. Amazingly, we found a honey badger! (Just earlier I had introduced you to honey badgers, thanks to a PBS documentary on Netflix.)

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

While we waited for our food, you enjoyed figuring out how to use your new Spiderman binoculars which you received from a new friend at your new school.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

It also was a pretty big deal to you once you realized that you got to keep your Mellow Mushroom cup that your water came in with your kids’ meal.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You’ve proudly been drinking out of it every night for dinner since then.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

We finished off the weekend with some fun pastas we found while buying our new sofa at World Market. By combining Valentine pasta and Space pasta, we accidentally ate a lunch that compliments one of our new signs for our house:

Love you to the moon and back!

It was a very fun, family Valentine’s Day weekend for us. Mommy and I even got you a new animal, Slush; as well as a little Lego train which you quickly built without any of my help.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse… It’s Official! Thank The Lord!

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse... It's Official!

Dear Jack,

The pictures you see here are not totally recent… they are from December 1st, 2014; more than 2 and a half months ago.

I’ve been hinting that we sold our townhouse. But for me, there just wasn’t closure with the story:

We were waiting on a reimbursement from taxes that we accidentally double paid, which ultimately was the profit we made from selling our townhouse.

Well, that check arrived in the mail last week; about three weeks after moving into our new home. Closure has now arrived.

I don’t want to portray this story lightly. I consider it a miracle of God that it happened the way it did:

After just 3 days on the market, our real estate agent, Dave Stanley with Reliant Realty, informed us that a nice young couple bought our townhouse from us. And we didn’t have to simply break even to sell it.

We had been praying that God would bring the right people to our townhouse. I believe God prepared them in their lives to see our townhouse when they did. (And it turns out, all the little upgrades we had been working on, like repainting the walls, and adding the backsplash, actually impressed them. They also liked our clean we kept it.)

To me, this is miraculous because it was mostly wishful thinking on our part that we would actually be able to sell it (especially for a profit) before we moved into our new house.

Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse... It's Official!

I was miserably prepared to become a landlord for the next couple of years.

Instead, we don’t have to worry about it anymore!

Our townhouse was great for what we needed it for when Mommy and I first got married. It was our brand new starter home.

And now, I am so grateful to know it went to a good home.

No, wait… that doesn’t make sense. What I meant to say was, I am grateful to know that our good home went to such good new owners.

I am so happy to be where we are in life. As I’ve said it before, we worked very hard to get where we are today.

It’s not that things are just handed to Mommy and me. But every once in a while, people like us get a break.

And our townhouse selling (for a profit) in 3 days to happy new owners is definitely one of those breaks for us. Thank the Lord!

The townhouse chapter in our life is now complete. Right on time.

Love,

Daddy