Dear Jack: Mother’s Day 2015/Adirondack Chairs

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: Mother's Day 2015

Dear Jack,

This year for Mother’s Day, Mommy decided she wanted a new ceramic cup for her coffee she makes each morning, some Adirondack chairs for our porch, and quality time as a family.

So that’s exactly what we made happen this weekend.

We started off with your next-to-the-last soccer game of the season…

Dear Jack: Mother's Day 2015

Then we had a fun lunch at Whole Foods, where they were having a special promotion in which 100% of the proceeds went to benefit the victims of Nepal; since their recent earthquake.

Mommy and I really enjoyed our vegan hot dogs the workers grilled for us!

Dear Jack: Mother's Day 2015

After your nap back at the house, you and I practiced our shooting into the lot across their street where they are building one of the last houses of our immediate neighborhood.

Dear Jack: Mother's Day 2015

Then, we all just hung out on the front porch. Mommy and I enjoyed the new Adirondack chairs, while you were perfectly content to play in your newly purchased (with your birthday money from last November) sand box.

So it sounds like Mommy got just what she wanted for Mother’s Day this year.

Not to mention, you and I made this little video for her…




Interactive Mother’s Day Quote Finder By

As Mother’s Day is just a few days away, I thought it might be helpful for me to share this “Interactive Quote Finder” for just the occasion.

It helps to add a thoughtful note to handmade gifts for mom.

This quote finder features 80 famous quotes with helpful filters, like funny or inspiring, as well as who is sending/receiving, like “from son” or “to sister”.

Here’s the link: Mother’sDay Quote Finder


Dear Jack: Our Homemade Jack-Man Commercial For The Toyota Sienna

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: Our Homemade Jack-Man Commercial For The Toyota Sienna

Dear Jack,

As promised, I spent some birthday money on editing software and a nice tripod, so that I could start making my own videos as a way to enhance Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

Today, I officially debut my first real project:

“2015 Toyota Sienna Homemade Commercial: Jack-Man”

Last week while we took our mini vacation to Pensacola, Toyota provided a 2015 Sienna for our family to review.

But before I decided to make my official video for our trip, I thought it would be fun to make a homemade commercial for the Sienna which would also tie in our new upcoming web series: Jack-Man.

So Mommy helped you put on the super hero costume that your friend Madison had given you for your birthday, then you and I headed out to the driveway to film the footage.

From there, I wrote and recorded the Jack-man theme song; which I will slightly alter the lyrics to for the actual upcoming web series in which I will play the villain.

Then I put it all together. Granted, it’s one of my first video editing projects and I was my own teacher when it came to learning to how to do all this.

So I’m sure our videos will be that much better in the months to come. Still, I’m very proud of “2015 Toyota Sienna Homemade Commercial: Jack-Man”. I think it turned out to be a lot of fun.

I know that you enjoyed making the video with me.

It used to be that fathers would teach their sons a trade. Maybe blogging and video editing can be what I pass on to you…




Here are the lyrics to this commercial version of the Jack-Man theme song:

Jack-Man, who will fight for justice?

Jack can, he really loves bananas

That man gets his super powers from them

Jack-Man rides in a Toyota Sienna minivan

His getaway car is driven by his dad


Sesame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine- Family Friendly Review

esame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine- Family Friendly Review

My family has just returned from a 4 day mini-vacation to Pensacola, while we reviewed and tested out the new 2015 Toyota Sienna; which happened to be equipped with an awesome DVD player.

We packed several DVDs for our trip, but there was one that received much more airplay, at the request of my 4 and a half year-old son… Sesame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine (on DVD and digital on May 5, 2015 for $14.98 SR).

Something my wife noticed about this DVD that made it so attractive to our son is that he got to decide which Elmo musical he wanted to watch. There are 7 choices:

  • “Guacamole the Musical”
  • “Mountain Climber the Musical”
  • “Repair Monster the Musical”
  • “Bird the Musical”
  • “Cowboy the Musical”
  • “Detective the Musical”

While “Play All” would run them all together as one solid movie, my son appreciated the free will of deciding which episode he wanted to see, when he wanted to see it.

esame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine- Family Friendly Review

The concept reminds me of the way the 1980s Mega Man video games were designed; you got to choose which levels to play in the order you wanted; in other words, it’s not chronological but it is all connected.

My son’s favorite was apparently “Bird the Plane,” where Elmo flies Ms. Penguin to her wedding. He also kept asking for “Repair Monster the Musical” as well; where Elmo gets to use tools to help fix things for people.

I can confirm that Sesame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine is very good for road trips. Ours was 7 hours one way; so all together, with all the places we visited once we got there; we were easily in the car for close to 20 hours!

esame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine- Family Friendly Review

As expected, the DVD implicates learning into the music, fun, and silliness. I imagine our trip would have been a lot loss serene if we wouldn’t have had the 2015 Toyota Sienna with a DVD player, along with a copy of Sesame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine.

esame Street: Elmo The Musical Vol. 2 Learn and Imagine- Family Friendly Review

Infographic below courtesy of Brittany Dietz/Cheapflights:


Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around/Silly String Fight

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

Dear Jack,

This afternoon when I got home, you and your neighbor friend Aiden were having a silly string fight! It obviously was a lot of fun for you guys.

But mainly, this week has been all about preparing for our upcoming road trip to Pensacola, Florida.

You have been explaining to Mommy and me that we may be able to dig up some dinosaur bones and treasure chests when we get to the beach. (See Mommy’s drawing below.)

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

Let’s just say that a recent trip of mine to the Dollar Tree will help make that preconceived idea of yours come true…

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

Also, Toyota sent us a 2015 Sienna for the trip, to review as a family. I think this is the same exact one I got to drive back in October when Toyota sent me to Pompano Beach for their “Family Reunion” when I made an instructional video on how to use the Driver Easy Speak function.

In the little bit of time I’ve driven it so far this week, here’s my initial assessment of it:

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

It feels like I’m driving a luxurious stretch SUV. It’s so spacious inside. The 2 passenger seats in the 2nd row are captain’s chairs that recline just like a normal recliner does.

Not to mention, this Toyota Sienna has a dual screen DVD/Blu-ray player in front of those “recliners.” Sounds like a limo to me!

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

So here’s to our biggest family road trip to date; other than when you were just a baby. But as an actual boy, we’ve never driven more than 5 hours one way with you.

This trip will be closer to 7 hours. However, I think the vehicle we will be travelling in will definitely make our trip that much more fun!

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

You are so excited about this van- almost as excited as you are about our treasure hunt…

We will be doing a “Plant-Based Restaurant Tour” of Pensacola, as well as driving out to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, where you hope to see a real dolphin and buy a stuffed one as a souvenir.

Dear Jack: 2015 Toyota Sienna Walk-Around

My camera is ready for all the upcoming action…



Dear Jack: To Hide Away From The World

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: To Hide Away From The World

Dear Jack,

I saw it coming; that once we had finally settled into our new house, that the rest of the world would seem to begin to fade away. Or maybe instead, that the I would feel myself unplugging from the rest of the world- which I am, at least compared to recent years in the world of social media.

And I don’t see that as a bad thing.

That’s exactly where I feel I’m at right now; in that place. Gone are the days when I was required to share my soul 6 times a week during those 3 years I was writing for; where I would I felt that pressure to check my Facebook home page throughout the day.

After all, I haven’t checked my Facebook page even once since we moved in this house nearly 3 months ago. I assume I must be out of the loop with what’s going on in the world.

But I’m fine. I’m happy. I appreciate our life as a family like it is right now.

The result from me sort of laying low is that I have more time to spend and just hang out, without as many distractions, with you and Mommy.

Life is supposed to be this simple. Well, actually it’s supposed to be much more simple than this, I believe.

I would love to be able to just work from home and live a slower paced life. I’m working on making that happen; as this week I’ve invested a portion of my birthday money into teaching myself to edit videos for my YouTube channel.

It just seems there’s this cliche that you watch your kids grow up way too fast; then you regret that you were too busy worrying about temporary things in the process.

I don’t want to feel that way in 10 or 20 years.

This is me taking time to truly appreciate you drawing funny pictures of monsters that look like snowmen. And letting you squeeze glue into cups of water, just to see what will happen.

These are the quiet and grateful days in the lives of our family; just appreciating what we have.

At least until our upcoming road trip to Pensacola when we go digging for dinosaur bones and treasure chests in the sand.

Let’s just say I’ve got something up my sleeve to make that happen…



Dear Jack: To You On My 34th Birthday

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: To You On My 34th Birthday

Dear Jack,

Turning 34 years-old means I’m now officially in my “mid-thirties.” It only makes sense that Mommy and I finalized getting set up with a life insurance policy for ourselves this week. Because that’s what you do when you’re 34; you buy a new house and you set up a life insurance policy. Sounds fun, right?

Well, in all serious, we definitely had plenty of fun this weekend as a family for my birthday. Nonna and Papa drove up from Alabama to see your soccer game Saturday morning; then they took care of you while Mommy and I got to go out on an awesome date to the movies, the Nashville Symphony, and out for dinner in downtown at Bakersfield.

It couldn’t have been any better!

Dear Jack: To You On My 34th Birthday

Then on Sunday, you helped make my vegan chocolate birthday cake. Mommy used 3 squiggly candles for the “3” and 4 regular candles for the “4”, to make the “34”. (My actual birthday is on April 20th.)

Of course, you blew out my candles for me. Plus, you took it upon yourself to open my presents for me as well; all while accidentally wearing your t-shirt backwards.

You and Mommy had slipped by Old Navy at some point and bought me some new clothes, including some “thunder socks” you specifically picked out for me. I shall wear them with pride!

Dear Jack: To You On My 34th Birthday

After removing all the decorative paper in my gift bag, you decided you wanted to make “paper pants.” So you tried them on for everyone.

Then you tried on my size 31 shorts Mommy bought me for our upcoming Pensacola road trip. They fit you about as well as the paper pants.

My 34th birthday weekend was perfect. It definitely felt like a real birthday. And I’m excited to buy Magix Movie Edit Pro 2015 with some of my birthday money, as I begin the process of teaching myself how to edit videos; to enhance Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

Let’s see if I end up being any good at it. I’ll make you a star, kid!



Dear Jack: To You On My 34th Birthday