Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

Dear Jack,

I experience guilt over you. I don’t get to spend enough time with you.

However, it’s not an issue of choice. It’s not that I could be spending time with you but am choosing not to.

Instead, it’s that in order to make a living for our family, Mommy and I both have to work. That’s nothing unique. That’s a normal problem.

But it presents a lifestyle in which despite living in a wonderful neighborhood and you being able to attend one of the best schools in the Nashville area, Mommy and I have to spend so much of our time commuting- and therefore, you spend time at “before care” in addition to being at Kindergarten most of the day.

During the week, my time is so limited with you. Every morning, I get you ready for school and drop you off. Every night we eat dinner together and then I get you ready for bed. All time combined, that’s barely an hour.

So really, it’s mainly just the weekends where I get to spend time with you. Granted, we’re having to buy groceries, clean the house, run errands, and go to church.

Not to mention, I’m constantly taking care of your baby sister when we’re all together.

I’m not able to pay you the attention I want. You don’t demand it. But I’m not able to give you what I want.

That’s why I treasure our quality time together. That’s why I make the most of it.

I experience guilt over this. I don’t know what else I can do though.

This is simply what I know as being a modern-day American parent who works full time and lives in a commuter’s community.

I wish could be with you more. You’re worth so much more than I can give you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Phone is Your Holy Grail

8 months.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Phone is Your Holy Grail

Dear Holly,

Coming out of the Christmas season, you have plenty of cute toys for a little girl your age. And it’s not that you don’t appreciate what you have, it’s just now that you crawl around any chance you get, you suddenly have the ability to stake out that most fascinating toy of all… my phone.

As I lay down on my side next to you as you’re playing, you get this sneaky look on your face. Then you pull yourself up on my hip, as to sort of look over the “fence”, in an attempt to scope out that magical toy you know is laying on the carpet a few feet behind me.

At this point, you instantly gain more than enough confidence in yourself- you suddenly hoist yourself over me, face first, onto the other side. It looks awkward and painful.

But for you, it’s worth it.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Phone is Your Holy Grail

By the time I turn my body over to face you, it’s too late.

The smile on your face says it all.

No, this isn’t one of your plastic toy phones. This is Daddy’s phone. This is your equivalent of the Holy Grail.

Granted, I always know what you’re doing from the moment I see that sneaky look of yours. I just let it happen. I enjoy watching you work so hard for something that gives you so much joy.

It’s as if you think I didn’t see you find my phone, so then you try to hide it to try to save it for later, like a hidden treasure. Your current go-to hiding spot for my phone is under the rug in the guest bathroom.

You’ve yet to turn my phone settings to Spanish or call someone I barely remember who still happens to be saved in my contacts.

Even at just 8 months old, you know my phone is off-limits and against the rules. Therefore, nothing is more alluring!

Love,

Daddy

We’re Going to Arenacross in Nashville: January 28-29, 2017

We’re Going to Arenacross in Nashville: January 28-29, 2017

While we are no strangers to monster truck shows, we have never attended Arenacross before. That’s right, we’ve never got to see a whole show of motorcycles flying through the air. But that will all change on the weekend of January 28th and 29th when Arenacross comes to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Congrats to Stefanie Lancaster, whose family of 4 will get to attend the Saturday night show for free; after being the 1st reader to comment on this post!

Top photo courtesy of ShiftOne Photography.

In the meantime, here is a preview of a couple of the drivers will be there…

 

Local Hero 

 

 lh_trevor_tate

Trevor Tate                         

Date of Birth: 8/21/96

Hometown: Greenbrier, TN

 

·         About Me

1.       What are some of your interests/hobbies/favorite pastimes?

§  Hanging out with my friends, anything motor related.

2.       Who are your role models?

§  My Dad, Kevin Windam.

3.       Do you have any pre-race rituals?

§  Not really. Tell the people next to me good luck.

4.       What is your favorite memory on or off the race track?

§  Hitting Laracco’s leap, holeshotting at Loretta Lynn’s.

5.       What is your favorite city to travel to and why?

§  Nashville, because it’s close and fits my style.

6.       Which Arenacross event would you consider your hometown race?

§  Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

 

·         Motocross, More Intense

1.       Tell us about your first AMSOIL Arenacross experience?

§  This is my first race with AMSOIL Arenacross

2.       What first attracted you to the sport of motocross?

§  Watching my Dad, and seeing it on TV.

3.       What’s it like racing in front of thousands fans in an arena environment?

§  An adrenaline rush and just puts a smile on my face.

4.       For those outside the sport, how would you describe AMSOIL Arenacross?

§  Rough and tough.

5.       What is your favorite track?

§  Fast Farms MX

·         Building Tomorrow’s Champions

1.       How did you get started competing in motocross?

§  I was 8, and just started riding in my backyard.

2.       What advice would you give to kids who want to enter the sport?

§  Have an open mind and keep it fun.

3.       What is your favorite part about competing in motocross?

§  That all of it is on me.

4.       What drives you?

§  To better myself and keep having fun being competitive.

5.       What personal mantra guides you?

§  Be the best I can be.

6.       What type of training regimen do you follow?

§  Running, cycling, riding.

·         Inside the AX Fan Experience

1.       What can fans expect when they come to an AMSOIL Arenacross event?

§  Exciting, tight racing.

2.       Why do you think motocross is such an attractive event for the entire family?

§  Because they see how much effort goes into it.

3.       What is your favorite part of an AMSOIL Arenacross day?

§  Making the main events.

 

·         It all started on a mini…”

1.       How did you first learn to ride?

§  Dad tied a rope around me and if I went to fall he’d pull me off.

2.       What was your first motorcycle?

§  KTM Mini 50

 

Local Hero 

 

Hayden Davey         

Date of Birth: 11-8-08            

Hometown: Mount Juliet, Tennessee

lh_hayden_davey

 

 

·         About Me

7.       What are some of your interests/hobbies/favorite pastimes?

§  Riding dirtbikes, swimming, riding bicycles.

8.       Who are your role models?

§  Ronnie Mac , Ryan Dungy, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana.

9.       Do you have any pre-race rituals?

§  Bounce on my seat and smack my hands together.

10.   What is your favorite memory on or off the race track?

§  Riding in the KTM challenge, Monster Energy Supercross and meeting all the top riders there.

11.   What is your favorite city to travel to and why?

§  Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills Tennessee, and watch the races.

12.   Which Arenacross event would you consider your hometown race?

§  Nashville

 

·         Motocross, More Intense

6.       Tell us about your first AMSOIL Arenacross experience?

§  Two years ago in Nashville was my first year racing. I had a blast!

7.       What first attracted you to the sport of motocross?

§  My Dad and watching it on TV.

8.       What’s it like racing in front of thousands fans in an arena environment?

§  Intense feeling, but it all goes away when I line up on the gate.

9.       For those outside the sport, how would you describe AMSOIL Arenacross?

§  Tight bar to bar, never give an inch racing.

10.   What is your favorite venue to compete in?

§  Loretta Lynn’s.

11.   What is your favorite track?

§  Fast Farms.

·         Building Tomorrow’s Champions

7.       How did you get started competing in motocross?

My Dad tricked me to go watch and brought my bike. He signed me up to ride instead of just watching!  I was 4 years old.

8.       What advice would you give to kids who want to enter the sport?

§  Step away from the video games and have some real fun.

9.       What is your favorite part about competing in motocross?

§  Jumps

10.   What is your greatest memory as an AMSOIL Arenacross rider?

§  The first time lining up and seeing the crowd.

11.   What drives you?

§  I want to be the best and win.

12.   What type of training regimen do you follow?

§  Practice, practice

·         Inside the AX Fan Experience

4.       What can fans expect when they come to an AMSOIL Arenacross event?

§  Close exciting racing.

5.       Why do you think motocross is such an attractive event for the entire family?

§  Takes the whole family to make it work, everybody has a job and is rewarded with good finishes [at the race].

6.       What is your favorite part of an AMSOIL Arenacross day?

§  Lining up at the gate.

 

·         It all started on a mini…”

1.       How did you first learn to ride?

§  I was 4 years old.

2.       What was your first motorcycle?

§  Yamaha pw50

Grateful. Exhausted. Here. (My 3 Word Response These Days When Other Parents Ask Me How I’m Doing)

Grateful. Exhausted. Here. (My 3 Word Response These Days When Other Parents Ask Me How I’m Doing)

It is very important to me when I communicate that I am direct and honest, yet not negative. Therefore, I am currently embracing my new official response to when other parents see me and say, “Hey Nick, how are you doing?”

Typically the person asking this has an assuming smile on their face; that I will predictably reply with, “Good, and how are you?”

But no. I tell it like it is; though with a smile on my own face:

“Grateful. Exhausted. Here.”

So far, it seems people appreciate my sincerity. I crafted my answer in a way where it hopefully doesn’t come across as Debbie Downer, because I am making a conscious effort to remove negative people from my social circle. I don’t want to become the type of people I am trying to avoid.

However, it’s fundamentally important to me that I make my communication impeccable. To me, my 3 word response accomplishes my goal of being optimistic, real, and funny.

“Grateful. Exhausted. Here.”

I start off by being optimistic: Grateful. As a person who chooses to be victorious instead of allowing myself to become a victim, I make it clear that I am thankful for the life I have. I am grateful for my wife, my children, our jobs, our home, and the fact we live in a free country.

Then I immediately follow up by being real: Exhausted. People know that both my wife and I work full time and have a Kindergartner son and an 8 month-old daughter; who is still mainly formula and often catching the newest sickness. So I don’t go into details- I never need to.

Lastly, I cover the funny part: Here. I have to assume it’s a universal part of being a parent in modern-day America that simply just showing up to events is quite a task. So yes, being “here” is an impressive thing.

This past weekend the 4 of us drove over 20 minutes to a birthday party. We were early. Really early.

In fact, we were the first people there. The girl on the front desk of the party place asked my wife, “And you are the party mom?”

That’s never a good thing when you’re already 10 minutes to a party.

My wife checked her phone. Turns out, we showed up at the right time… just the wrong day.

Grateful. Exhausted. Here.

Hopefully here, at least.

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Kombucha has been an important part of my manly vegan diet, going on 4 years now. On average, I drink at least three 16 ounce bottles of Kombucha each week. It’s full of probiotics.

I personally don’t believe in taking supplements, as I believe that would make me a hypocrite: If my whole diet is based on only eating healthy food, I figure I must be doing something wrong if I have to depend on some processed form of nutrition.

But Kombucha is a live and active culture. I always feel great after drinking it- and I believe it further strengthens my immune system, after a previous lifetime of process foods filled with an overkill of protein and cholesterol.

Kombucha is my consumable vice. And I’m proud of that.

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Last month at Whole Foods, I noticed they started carrying 48 ounce bottles (1.4 liters) of GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha. I thought about how fun it would be to see how much of it I could drink in one setting.

Last Thursday, my wife ended up having to buy her lunch, which cost $11. Our rule is that if one of us has to spend money on food for lunch, the other person gets the same amount as an allowance.

It was quite obvious what I would be spending my money on: The 48 ounce bottle of GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha cost $8.99.

In the event there is no world record for the amount of Kombucha consumed in one setting, I decided to clumsily document the event.

I made it over half-way, yet not quite 2/3’s. I could have done more, but it was starting to turn into too much of a good thing; as I began feeling a bit disoriented.

Buy hey, if anyone beats my record, I’d definitely be up for drinking the entire bottle, or more, if necessary.

 The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Find My Campbell’s Go Twin: Please Help Me By Sharing My Story #FindMyCampbellsGoTwin

 

No, that’s not me on the cover of the package of the Campbell’s Go soup package. But believe me, I get that a lot from people.

However, my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 is to met my twin, my doppelganger, who can easily be spotted on this Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa soup package; which can easily be found at most grocery stores.

Here’s the thing: I seriously need your help!

I’ve already done everything I know to do at this point…

Campbell’s Soup is aware of my search. I’ve also contacted BBDO, the advertising agency that handles the Campbell’s account and left messages with the account manager.

I get it. Liability issues. They can’t just hand out the name of the guy on the soup package.

They can’t know for sure I’m just a regular, fun guy who simply wants to meet his twin.

So that’s where you come in. I need you to share my story on your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag…

#FindMyCampbellsGoTwin

Find My Campbell's Go Twin: Please Help Me By Sharing My Story #FindMyCampbellsGoTwin

Will you do that for me? Just imagine, if enough people who I do know share my story with people I don’t know who share my story with more people I don’t know… it shouldn’t take too long until finally someone actually knows this guy.

Here’s the strategy:

  1. If you know who my twin is, make him aware of this article and/or the video with it.

  2. Help me research. See if there’s anything beyond the fact that BBDO is the advertising agency. What other clues might we find that will lead us closer to him?

  3. Spread the word. Simply spread the link to this blog post and/or the video version.

I am confident that with your help, especially with you (and thousands of people I don’t know) sharing this story, we can cause #FindMyCampbellsGoTwin to trend on Facebook and Twitter.

And from there, I will ultimately meet my twin. You’ll get to eventually see the next chapter of my story.

I look forward to meeting him, finding out what we have in common, and becoming his friend.

Seriously, this is history in the making. And you play a major part in it! I can’t do this without you.

#FindMyCampbellsGoTwin

Find My Campbell's Go Twin: Please Help Me By Sharing My Story #FindMyCampbellsGoTwin

Dear Jack: Will You and Your Sister Both Adopt the Only Child Mentality?

6 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack: Will You and Your Sister Both Adopt the Only Child Mentality?

Dear Jack,

Back in college, I was really into this book called The Birth Order Connection. It explains the theory of how our personalities are ultimately guided by what order we were born in the family.

It describes how an “only child” is different than a first-born child; but if a first-born child is at least 6 years-old when the 2nd sibling is born, both children ultimately become more like only children because those earlier formative years are not shared with another sibling of the same age.

When I Googled “traits of an only child” just now, here’s the first thing that came up:

“Only children, being firstborn themselves, tend to exhibit traits more similar to those of other firstborn children. However, only children seem to have better self-esteem and are higher achievers than children who have siblings (Brophy, 1989, p. 54).”

When your sister was born, you were about 5 and a half years-old; to be exact, 7 months shy of that 6 year-old mark. So really, you’re borderline on whether you will adopt a first born (older brother) mentality as opposed to an only child mentality.

And then same can be said for your sister, as long as no more siblings are born within the next 5 years. In theory, she may never really develop the mentality of “younger sister”. Instead, the two of you could easily both end up having that ultra-independent personality of an only child.

After all, the two of you will never really have to share your toys with each other. The two of you get to live next to each other, but always in different stages of childhood development.

Earlier this week on the drive to school, I told you, “Jack, when Holly’s your age now, you’ll be 11 years-old; you’ll be finishing up 5th grade when your sister turns 6; the age you are now.”

You laughed at the thought of it.

But that’s the reality. You are her older brother and she is your younger sister, but really the two of you may end up technically more like only children.

Love,
Daddy