Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

4 years. 

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

Dear Jack,

A week ago was your actual 4th birthday, though your birthday party with your friends was the day before on Saturday.

That meant you had already opened your presents from your friends by the time Mommy and I let you open your gifts from us the next morning at our house.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

Sort of half-jokingly, I suggested that before you got started opening our gifts to you, that you should dress up in the super hero costume that your friend Madison had given you. (We actually let you open your gifts in front of your friends at your party; even though that’s nearly considered weird these days!)

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

You didn’t hesitate.

To make things even better, you happened to already be wearing your Batman pajamas, which had served as your Halloween costume just a few weeks ago.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

So by the time you put on your costume, it apparently made you Super Captain Batman Jack!

It’s like you honestly believed that the red cape made you fun faster, because you were trying it out right, getting into super hero character before you sat down to open your presents.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

I want to be clear, you did not remove one item of the costume the entire time, including the mask.

Even if you never wear the costume again, which after seeing this, I’m pretty sure you will, it was worth Madison picking out this outfit for you just for this event alone.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

It was a relevant gift for more than one reason. Turns out, one of the gifts Mommy and I got for you was a Spiderman sleeping bag.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

Not only have you been using it to sleep on this week, given that everything is moved out of our house now since we’re moving out to live with some friends as our new house is being built, but I also envision your new Spiderman sleeping bag to be what you sleep on when we “go camping” in our backyard of our new house next summer.

Dear Jack: Dressing Yourself As A Super Hero To Open Your Gifts From Family

And fortunately, your mechanically-minded Uncle Andew was there to help put together a Techno Gears Marble Mania Quest maze; it took him only 2 hours, whereas the box warned it would take 3 to 4!

You provided great entertainment for our family as you opened your “Mommy and Daddy” presents. You really did make the best Super Captain Batman Jack that I have ever seen!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

4 years.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

Dear Jack,

These days, it’s apparently become the standard not to open your presents at birthday parties; especially if it’s in a rented facility and especially in a bigger city.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

I figure part of it is a time restraint issue for the 2 hour time limit… and then perhaps part of it is a new cultural take on it; that it’s somehow rude or showy for your child to open his presents in front of all the other kids and their parents.

So naturally, I assumed that’s how we were supposed to do it too, at your 4th birthday party last weekend- to refrain from opening gifts during the party; this was your first birthday party you’ve had that hasn’t taken place at our house.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

However, around the middle of your party, some of your friends began asking when you would be opening their gift.

Having eaten the cake and snacks 45 minutes into the 2 hour time slot, it still allowed for plenty of time before and after the food, so that there was still a solid 20 minutes remaining for opening gifts.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

So… even if it may have been breaking the rules or social taboo or something, Mommy and I let you open your gifts in front of your friends!

And I am so glad we did! I am so glad it worked out that way.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

I was sort of sitting in the middle of all your friends as I was taking pictures and I saw the look of excitement as each of them gradually realized that their gift was in your hands and about to be opened.

Some friends even stood right next to you or behind you to get the equivalent of a backstage pass.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

Granted, there were only about a dozen kids there, so it didn’t take all that long; maybe 15 minutes to open all the presents. And of course you helped hand out the party favor bags with the crayon Lego men we made.

I am now convinced: Opening the presents at the party is the way to go! The party attendees demanded it and were happy to see it happen.

Not to mention, you were happy to oblige!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

Dear Jack: Sometimes I Can Even Be Your Nurturer

4 years.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Sometimes I Can Even Be Your Nurturer

Today during lunchtime, the parents were invited up for a special sort of pre-Thanksgiving at your school.

It’s interesting to see how your personality transforms when I show up to school to visit, as opposed to dropping you off or picking you off.

You got sort of giggly, yet quiet; like you were confused on how to act in front of both your teachers and me. You knew how to interact with your friends, but my presence was definitely throwing you off.

How do you balance your interaction with more than one role of authority between two different environments? I can imagine that sense of displacement.

After a few minutes once you had finished your lunch, you discovered what made you feel comfortable- sitting in my lap while I squeezed you tightly.

You didn’t want to talk or play; just let me hold you as we watched your friends interact with their parents.

Eventually, we started taking goofy pictures of ourselves. That really made you feel more like yourself.

father and son selfies

After about 30 minutes or so before it was time for your nap and time for me to leave.

It’s funny because I’m the one to say the final good-night to you at home and it’s a pretty quick process.

But today at school, you kept asking me to hug you and kiss you again and again as I was leaving. That’s not typical of you.

I got to see this really, really sweet side of you that apparently is reserved for Mommy, I suppose.

Granted, you’re a sweet boy anyway. It’s just that usually I’m the one to play rough with you and I’m by default the main disciplinarian figure in your life.

Tonight as Mommy and I were putting you to bed, you told Mommy, “Today when Daddy left, I was sad… because Daddy had to go.”

Somewhat ironically, it makes me feel good that you were sad when I had to leave.

It’s confirmation that you know you can see me as a nurturer anytime you really need to. But as for most of the time, I am your fearless leader.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

Imagine the people of North Korea realizing that they outnumber their nation’s military in brute force and therefore they decide to overthrow the tyranny they’ve been under for all these decades.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: Family Friendly Daddy Blog

Consider the unavoidable violence that would occur as the people would sacrifice their bodies as weapons against the armed military forces of the government. Think about how the landscape would be covered with the charred remains of the thousands fought for the cause of dethroning their oppressor.

It would be a grim picture.

I have just described the mood and feel of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, but the setting is not North Korea, it is a future version of America.

The reason I used North Korea as the example is because I feel the newest Hunger Games installment is a realistic glimpse of what really could happen if any oppressed nation turned own their government.

It all goes back to this concept: The people of a nation are only controlled by their government if they allow themselves to be.

And this is one of the many reasons I love The Hunger Games: The Libertarian theme is undeniable.

Amazingly, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 contains no profanity whatsoever; not even what I call a “1950’s cuss word” like “crap” or even something harmless like “dang it”. Nothing.

Unless I missed one… but I’ve always had a talent for hearing profanity in movies, and I can tell you, I didn’t hear even one questionable or potentially offensive word in this movie.

Likewise, it contains no sexual content or nudity whatsoever; as is typical with the Hunger Games movies.

Yes, Hollywood can indeed make an excellent movie without sex or profanity! Who knew?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

As for violence, that’s another thing. Though blood is fairly minimal, this is a war movie more than anything.

There are mass deaths and public executions in which the camera pans away just in time before the moment of fatal impact is given.

And as I mentioned earlier, the landscape itself is an open graveyard.

What could have made this movie even darker is if any children were shown being killed. However, it is explained that most children had already died in “an epidemic.”

Therefore, the people who sacrifice their lives as human weapons are all older teens and adults; other than when a hospital is bombed by the Capitol, in which hundreds of injured and dying are instantly wiped out. However, only the bombing of the building from the outside is shown.

With that being said, this movie is for a mature audience. Could a 10 year-old watch this movie?

Ask yourself this: At what age would you be okay with your child watching an edited for TV version of Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan?

This isn’t a kids’ movie. It’s an intelligent, mature film that serves as a political thriller/war movie.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is not a family friendly movie, despite the complete lack of profanity and sexual content.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

However, it’s the best movie I’ve seen all year. It’s the kind of movie that is completely worthy of seeing in the theatre.

I believe the message in this movie validates the necessary amount of violence; because ultimately, it gives opportunity for a hero of hope to lead the people to salvation.

Flawless movie, but not intended or suitable for younger viewers. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason.

Thanks for reading my family friendly review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Come back any time!

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese’s After An SUV Crashed Through It Today

Today, right as I was leaving for my lunch break, a coworker informed me that a car had just driven through the front wall of the Chuck E. Cheese a few blocks away from our office in Cool Springs; the business borough of Franklin, TN- about 20 miles south of Nashville.

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese After The Car Crashed Through It Today

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese After The Car Crashed Through It Today

As a blogger, I make a point to carry my camera with me wherever I go. By the time I got to the seen just a few minutes later, the vehicle had already been removed from the building.

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese After The Car Crashed Through It Today

News crew was wrapping up some stock footage for the story. In fact, the cameraman handed me his phone with the story pulled up:

Grandmother crashes SUV into Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese’s

To my surprise no one asked me to leave as I took pictures of the aftermath and wreckage of the Chuck E. Cheese building.

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese After The Car Crashed Through It Today

As you can see, that’s a pretty big hole.

I don’t understand how the vehicle gained enough speed to run over the curb, drive through the hedges, then crush right through the brick wall and windows.

Photos Of The Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese After The Car Crashed Through It Today

It was right there in the parking lot, and that part of it was very small.

Fortunately, the driver only had minor injuries.

Grandmother crashes SUV into Cool Springs Chuck E. Cheese’s

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego Themed 4th Birthday Party

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

4 years old.

Dear Jack,

It is true, you are now a 4 year-old! And I can absolutely without a doubt tell you that you had an awesome 4th birthday and birthday party.

Knowing the relevance of Legos, given the fact you will spend hours at a time building Optimus Prime and Dinobots, we booked your party months ago at a place called Bricks 4 Kidz.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

That was the best decision for your party. Not only did you and your friends have a great time playing with Legos, but the parents felt at ease, yet still involved, with all the action.

Dear Jack: We Actually Let You Open Your Presents At Your Birthday Party

There were also optional peripheral activities going on for any of your friends who wanted to mix things up; like making a cool spiral design on a paper plate using a Lego-operated device.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

This made the first birthday party you’ve had outside of our home; I quickly realized how stress-free it truly is when you don’t have to worry about anything.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

Your birthday party was on autopilot; it flowed so well.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

The only thing we were really responsible for was bringing the food, which, you know me… that’s a big deal.

I made sure that in addition to your party having a Lego theme, that it also had a “no artificial anything” theme as well.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

These days, you really have to go out of your way to find “birthday food” that doesn’t have garbage ingredients in it, like artificial food dyes, animal bi-products, or mysterious chemicals.

Of course, for me, your vegan dad, I knew just where to look…

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

I reached out to Annie’s and GoGo Squeez and they helped donate the majority of the snacks for your party. They are just as passionate as I am about spreading the word about the importance of eating real food.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

Obviously, your friends loved our Annie’s crackers & cookies and Go Go Squeez pouch buffet!

And that was in addition to your vegan birthday cake that I special ordered from Whole Foods. You said you wanted it to be chocolate with blue icing, so that’s exactly what you got.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

It was so good…

No eggs, no dairy, no artificial dyes or flavors… no problem! We liked it so much that Mommy and I (jokingly?) talked about ordering another cake from Whole Foods to celebrate when we move into our new house in January.

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

So not only was there plenty of fun to be had at your 4th birthday party, but I was able to feel confident that I was serving you and your friends the best “birthday food” out there: Annie’s, Go Go Squeez, and Whole Foods vegan birthday cake.

Of course, there is that whole part about you opening the presents, but more on that in the next letter…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your “No Artificial Anything” Lego-Themed 4th Birthday Party

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

4 years.

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

Dear Jack,

This past weekend, immediately following your 4th birthday party on Saturday, we led my side of the family in a caravan (your Nonna and Papa, along with Aunt Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousin Calla) to see the progress on our new house we’re building.

As we drove near our cul-de-sac, Mommy yelled with excitement, “It’s blue!”

We had learned last week that the siding is actually made out of wood, and that it would be painted eventually. Well, the painting has definitely began.

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

Mommy was also very happy to see that our marble countertops are in; as well as the kitchen’s bar.

I was particularly happy to see that our garage doors are now in, along with automatic garage door openers; considering as long as Mommy and I have been married and lived in our townhome (over 6 years), we’ve never had a garage for our cars.

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

Each time we visit our new house, I become even more satisfied with our decision to buy it, and therefore, to move out of our townhome.

Which, speaking of…

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

This apparently is our last week to live in our townhome! Mommy and I bought it brand-new in 2008, when we got married, but now it’s time to move out and move on.

Last night as I was saying goodnight to you, at your sleeping bag on top of a foam mat, I explained to you, “Jack, this is our last week to sleep and live in this house, because we’re going to be moving into the new one in January, in a couple months.”

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

At this point, other than mats to sleep on, in addition to enough food and clothing to by this week, our house is empty.

Papa helped Mommy and I move the rest of it to the storage facility over the weekend. Mommy had to secretly pack up two of your favorite stuffed animals in a box: Puppa the puppy and Cheaty the cheetah.

I had the opportunity to see if I could fit in the backseat of the 2014 Scion FR-S that I was reviewing for your birthday week. (I could.)

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

This coming weekend we’ll move our few remaining items in our personal vehicles to our friends’ house where we will be staying until January when our new house is ready.

Exciting times…

Love,

Daddy

2014 Scion FR-S back seat