Dear Jack: Your Personal Decision to Wear a Screen-Printed Necktie Long-Sleeve T-Shirt for Your School Picture, as Opposed to One of the Fancy Dress Shirts Nonna Bought You

6 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

At the end of the summer, Nonna lucked out and was able to buy a collection of brand-new dress shirts for you from a store that was going out of business back in Fort Payne, Alabama where I grew up. Several of these shirts were originally worth around $60, but she got them for much, much cheaper.

I had just recently explained to you that when you get older, like around 6th grade, you’re going to want to transition to wearing more shirts like this. It’s just part of that more mature transition into Junior High. But that’s still 5 years from now.

Naturally, Mommy brought them all out of your closet the night before Picture Day at school, so you could decide which one you’d wear for your photo. You were curious about the idea of wearing a bowtie; the one you wore from exactly a year ago when we were in San Diego for your Uncle Jake’s wedding.

But there was hesitation on your part. Apparently, there was part of the discussion I had missed prior to walking into your bedroom that night.

Then I saw Mommy reach back in the closet for one more option.

I watched your blue eyes grow big once she pulled out a black long-sleeve t-shirt with a screen-printed image of a necktie; it was a one she ordered online from Crazy 8.

“What you do you think, Daddy?” Mommy asked me.

My response was instant:

“Even though we’ve got much nicer shirts for him, if he finds his current identity in this fake necktie shirt, I say let the kid be happy.”

So last Thursday morning before you left for school, I snapped a picture of you in that shirt.

Hey, there are will be plenty of opportunities for you to wearing your classy, Southern dress shirts from Nonna. Picture Day just wasn’t one of them.

At least not this year.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: How The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” Song Makes Me Think of You

1 year, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

One of the highlights of my day is to come home from work after a long day and a long drive home, to take care of you while Mommy prepares dinner.

I always ask her how much time she needs, which is usually around 30 to 45 minutes. As I carry you outside for a long walk or a stroller ride around in our neighborhood, I have this involuntary habit of saying to you, in 3rd person about you, “She’s so sweet. She’s precious. And I love her.”

After I finally realized I was saying that out loud, I immediately thought back to the 1964 song by The Beatles’, “And I Love Her.”

I give her all my love
That’s all I do
And if you saw my love
You’d love her to
I love her

Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her

The song only peaked at Number 12 in America, so it was never one of their well-known hits. But for me, I guess I am realizing it is a song of from their library that has always resonated with me. Perhaps it took you to help me realize that.

I have never loved anyone the way I love you. It’s a special bond that has taken experiencing to understand.

It’s like you are a literally a special little angel and I have been appointed to care for. My job is to protect and nurture and adore you into adulthood. But the entire time, I ultimately know you are never really mine. You are a gift. You belong to God and I simply was selected through divine intervention to be your caretaker.

This is the only way I can explain how much I love you.

Love,

Daddy

My Son’s New Prime Time Toys’ Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster

Lucky is the son of a daddy blogger… that’s all I’ve got to say! My son Jack knew that the weekend Papa was coming up would be an especially big deal, because that would be when he got to open “the surprise” I got in the mail for him. Companies send me products to feature here on my blog, knowing that many people read what I write.

Still a little over a month until his 7th birthday, and still nearly 3 months until Christmas, Jack got to open a present for the special event of simply showing other kids and parents what it’s like to play with a certain toy.

Obviously, Jack was very excited to see that the mysterious gift was none other than an Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. It can shoot 20 darts in 20 seconds up to 80 feet!

The super-powerful blaster with light-up action is one of only 25 toys featured on Walmart’s annual Top Rated by Kids toys list.

So we took it out to the front yard to test it out. He and Papa (my dad) took turns trying to hit me while I zoomed by on the skateboard. Sometimes I would get hit by a whole row of darts as I sped by, while other times the rhythm of the darts was just right, to wear every single one of them missed me; like the way action heroes can run through a spray of bullets and never get shot.

Jack then decided to try out the range of his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. He enjoyed pulled the trigger and seeing out how far across the cul-de-sac he could shoot the darts.

I noticed that by default, he was making sort of an Easter egg hunt out of finding the darts after he shot them. He was very protective of those darts.

So I guess now, my son has the coolest dart gun in our entire neighborhood.

I can easily see him as a teenager, shooting paintball guns with his friends, like I did when I was in high school.

But until there are paintball guns, he can practice with his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster.

Our New Stellen Pull Down Kitchen Faucet by Pfister

Now that our family has been in our “new house” for over two and a half years, it was no surprise to learn that our standard kitchen faucet that came with our home was starting to leak. I just expect the need for minor repairs at this point.

Fate would have it, though, that Pfister reached out to me, asking if I would write a review on their website for the Stellen Pull Down Kitchen Faucet by Pfister if they sent me the product. I first mentioned it to my wife, then quickly agreed to the arrangement!

Admittedly, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum of “handyman”…

However, my dad happened to be in town last weekend so we were able to get the new Stellen Pull Down Kitchen Faucet installed.

My wife loves our new faucet! It’s taller than the one we had before, so larger pots and pans get fit in the sink easier. We are always doing so many dishes at our house, so it really is great to have this new Pfister faucet to make things more efficient for us as part of our daily routine.

Another thing my wife specifically appreciates about this faucet is that the spray nozzle actually detaches from the faucet itself; as opposed to being separate like the one we had before.

Not to mention, our new faucet really adds a lot to the look of our kitchen. It’s one of those things you subconsciously notice when you walk into someone’s kitchen.

Especially if you have plans to sell your home at some point in the near future, upgrades to your kitchen and bathrooms can really go far as to impressing potential buyers.

So if you’re considering getting the Stellen Pull Down Kitchen Faucet by Pfister, I can tell you, we love ours. I hope my testimonial today gives you a glimpse of what it would be like to have one in your own kitchen.

But really, it’s this simple for me: My wife loves it, therefore I love it.

How Primrose Teaches Children 6 Executive Function Skills to Use in School and at Home

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I am a Primrose parent, so I see firsthand how my son Jack has learned, and applies at home, the 6 executive function skills that Primrose Schools focuses on in their curriculum: Adaptability, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Self-Control, and Memory.

Immediately my mind goes back to last weekend. We had driven 2 and a half hours to Alabama, where I grew up, so we could attend my hometown’s annual Boom Days event. Jack loved it so much last year, being able to ride a pony, play in a giant inflatable maze, roll around inside a giant inflatable ball, and buy a souvenir from one of the local shops.

Understandably, he was quite excited about attending the event this year as well. However, it ended up raining all afternoon, and unfortunately, we were unable to attend the outdoor event. I was bracing myself for his reaction, as I expected it to be quite negative and emotional- but I was wrong.

Instead, he was completely content with learning we would have to go with a “Plan B”. We spent the rest of the afternoon at his Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew’s house. While the rain may have stopped him from our original plans, it didn’t stop him from having fun as he and his cousins used their imaginations to play inside instead.

Jack showed 2 of the 6 executive functions: Self-Control and Adaptability.

I can easily think of another example of how my son applies a couple more of the executive function skills in his day-to-day routine.

Jack has a baby sister, Holly, who is only 17 months old. On a daily basis, Jack exercises Teamwork and Problem Solving skills, as my wife and I depend on his help with his little sister. We have grown to depend on him to help entertain his sister while we get dinner ready, to help carry her bottles in and out of the car, and to quickly assist in fetching whatever item that my wife needs, like a Kleenex or a diaper, when we are all getting ready in the morning.

Children who attend Primrose Schools have these executive function skills taught to them at such a young age. So naturally, there is less of a learning curve as Jack grows and matures each year. It is clear that Primrose Schools is the go-to source for early education and childhood development content; not only in the classroom, but at home as well. I know this because I personally see it every day in my son’s behavioral decisions.

If you’d like to learn more parenting and education tips from Primrose, I want to invite you to subscribe to Primrose’s newsletter for a chance to win a Primrose Prize Pack consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books. 10 winners will be chosen! Enter here.

Thanks for learning about Primrose’s 6 executive function skills today.

 

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Dear Jack: Your 1st Soccer Game as the Goalie

6 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Tuesday evening as we were leaving your soccer practice, I heard your coach confirm to you, “Alright Jack, I’m putting you in as goalie for Saturday’s game. You know what to do, right?”

You were humbly thrilled to know that you would finally get to be the goalie. Honestly, I had no idea you were interested in playing that position. But it turns out that you were interested enough that you proactively asked your coach if you could play goalie.

I had noticed during practice that you were playing goalie, but I figured it was just standard for the coach to give turns to all the players. But no, you had specifically asked him.

Of all weekends for Nonna and Papa to be in town from Alabama, this past Saturday was it. They got to see you play your newest position. You loved being goalie!

I was particularly also impressed by the fact when you weren’t playing goalie during the game, there were two different times in which you led the ball down the field towards the goal.

It’s so cool being able to see how you truly enjoy playing soccer and being a part of your team.

Of course, it helps that you and your best friend Duncan are on the same team, the Red Wolves. The two of you have literally been friends since the womb, as our families were in Lamaze class together back in the fall of 2010.

Soccer is a really good thing for you. Not only does it help you burn off plenty of energy, but I can see the way it undeniably builds confidence in you. And I appreciate how it teaches you the importance of playing as part of a team.

You were an only child for so long, so being a star runner and occasionally goalie on the Red Wolves is a great thing for you!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Practicing Your Soccer Moves on the Field, During Your Brother’s Game

1 year, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

This past Saturday was a very special soccer game for your brother, as not only did he get to play as goalie for the first time, but also, Nonna and Papa were in town from Alabama to see it as well.

We all sat right there on the edge of the field near the goal, nearly as close as we could without being on the field. You loved being able to walk from Mommy, to me, to Nonna, and to Papa.

And then you saw your brother’s red soccer ball that he had brought with him.

The smile on your face seemed to translate as, “Well if Jack can do this, so can I. How hard could it be?”

So you began kicking the ball over the line, onto the very edge of the field. As one of us adults would then move the ball off the field, you would sure enough find your way back in the game.

Fortunately, each time this occurred, all the players actually playing the game happened to be on the other side of the field.

I think it’s safe to say that you are finding your brother’s soccer games to be pretty fascinating. So while I could easily see you getting into dance classes when you get older, it already makes perfect sense to me that would also play soccer.

And based on the way I’ve seen you kick the ball back to me in our living room and on the back porch, I have to say… you actually have some kicking skills!

I suppose for the last few soccer games this season, you will continue practicing your soccer moves during Jack’s games. Give it a few more years, and that’ll be you out there on the field!

Love,

Daddy