Dear Jack: Your Reptile-Themed 9th Birthday Party

9 years.

Dear Jack,

This year for your birthday party, I feel like it’s safe to say that both Mommy and I were feeling a bit ambitious, as we hosted ten of your 9 year-old friends at our home. Notably, there were all boys.

You were very involved in the planning process, though. The theme: Reptiles.

It was your idea to start out by having all your friends paint a wooden snake at our kitchen table.

Next up on the agenda was to play “Pin the Tongue on the Cobra”… of course!

Then, I took you and your friends out on a scavenger hunt hike around the walking trail in our neighborhood:

Jack’s 9th Birthday Scavenger Hunt Hike

As a group, the following items must be discovered and tasks must be completed.

If not, no one gets pizza or cake- and Jack can’t open his presents- he has to give the presents back.

-Corn cob

-American flag

-Poisonous berries

-7 dog poop signs

-P on door

-Owl on door

-4 painted metal signs of flowers- blue, red, green, yellow

-Predators’ flag

-3 signs of a man with a floating head

-Everyone throws a black walnut into the woods from the top of the stairs

-Everyone runs backwards across a wooden bridge

-Everyone sits on a bench at the same time

-Everyone yells “Happy Birthday Jack!” on the same side of a tunnel, while he’s on the other side

(I helped you all out by pointing to the big letter “P” on our neighbors’ door, as that’s the letter that their last name begins with.)

It was perfect timing- because by the time we all returned to our house, the pizza had just been delivered.

I can not remember the last time I had Domino’s pizza, but I was thoroughly impressed!

And of course, the finale of the party was letting you all have a massive swordfight with inflatable snakes out in the cul-de-sac.

Your birthday party went so well that I suppose we could get away with hosting it at our house again next year!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your New Pet Teddy Bear Hamster Named Alpha

9 years old.

Dear Jack,

Well, it happened. We did it.

Mommy and I let you get our family’s first ever pet.

You decided on a Teddy Bear Hamster who you named Alpha.

With this being our first week into it, as the nice helpful lady at Petco explained, it’s going to take several days for your hamster to get accustomed to our family.

So each day after school, as a family, we have been letting him out of his cage and so he can get used to us petting his back.

Hopefully soon, we’ll be at the point where you can easily pick him up and hold him.

I think this is a good thing for you!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: You Joined the Parking Lot Sword Fight at Your Brother’s Birthday Party

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend for the end of your brother’s birthday, we let him along with ten other 9 year-olds run around the cul-de-sac with inflatable snake-shaped swords.

It reminded me of the gang fight in the 1983 movie The Outsiders– just a never-ending, chaotic feud of violence.

Granted, it helped in our case that the only weapons were inflatable.

You were just in luck, because there happened to be one extra snake sword.

Without any prodding, you gladly joined the mass sword fight.

The funny thing is, none of the boys realized you were fighting them.

But the whole time, you were laughing mischievously as if you were secretly winning the fight!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: A New Bike, as an Early Birthday Present!

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

In just 2 days, you will be turning 9 years years old!

It won’t be long before you get to open all your birthday presents.

Fortunately, when Nonna and Papa were up at our house a few weeks ago, they gave you their gift early, so that you can enjoy it before the weather starts getting too cold to enjoy it.

You had clearly outgrown your old bicycle. The pedals were nearly hitting the asphalt.

So now, you have the new and improved version. It’s cool to be able to see the two compared right next to each other.

You are growing up!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Looking Back Over 3 Years Ago Since You Met Your Friend Hanna

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Your friend Hanna came to visit us last Saturday morning for breakfast. The two of you love playing together.

Hanna’s daddy took a picture of you playing in your mermaid blanket. It reminded me of when the two of you both met for the first time; back when you were only 6 months old.

We had joked that you were Elsa and Hanna was Jasmine.

So I suppose from now on, every time we take an updated version of you both, we’ll compare it back to that picture of when you two met each other!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: You Won the Boat Race Against Your Brother!

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

You have now been initiated into the Shell tradition of boat racing in the creek.

Back in college, some of my friends and I would make silly boats of of plastic bottles and race them in the creek in a nearby park.

Several years ago, when your brother was about your age now, I started teaching him how to make boats to take to the creek.

Now this tradition has been passed down to you, as your brother built a brand-new boat for you.

Honestly, I wasn’t even involved in the process. He took care of it all.

All I did was walk the two of you down to the creek and watch you both have fun.

And as it turns out, you actually won the boat race!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Helping Your Sister Build a Boat for the Race

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Over the years, you and I have had this tradition of going to the creek in the next neighborhood over, to sail your newest homemade boat.

Now that it finally rained recently, allowing to give the creek water again, we decided to head back there.

But first, you spent some time with your sister after church, helping her design her own boat, so that the two of your could race them.

To your surprise, her boat won the face.

To my surprise, that didn’t bother you at all.

I think you were just proud to teach her how to have fun in a new way!

Love,

Daddy