Dear Holly: Three 4 Year-Old Girls on a Playground!

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Saturday morning you got to spend the whole day playing on Papa’s new playground with not only your cousin Darla, but also a new friend named Emery who came to the grand opening.

It just so happened that are three of you are 4 years-old! In fact, you and Emery were born just about 9 days part.

Watching you all run along from one end of the playground to the next was like seeing triple!

I don’t recall hearing my words spoken from the three of you… just a constant stream of giggles.

I’m really starting to believe that 4 year-old girls are universally the same:

Sweet, playful, and adventurous!




When You Reconnect with a High School Friend and It’s Like Picking Up Right Where You Left Off

I have no memory of actually meeting William Coulter. He transferred in from Colorado our junior year of high school and it seems we just immediately and effortlessly became friends.

We never even had a class together. But we ended up hanging out together a lot, as teenagers in a small mountain town in Alabama.

I think it started when we went to go see Adam Sandler’s new movie at the time, Big Daddy.

Then William came to some church youth function where the manager of Hardee’s donated hundreds of burgers to feed everyone. Yet still after the event ended, there were dozens of hamburgers left- and because I personally knew the manager, she gave me all the left overs to take home.

So I took two garbage bags full of unwrapped hamburgers to my house that night. William and I decided to make our challenge to eat a minimum of 24 burgers throughout the hours of the night.

We failed. But we ate more for breakfast that next morning.

There was also the time, on a very short notice and a whim, that we went on a road trip to Pensacola, Florida our senior year. Our high school had allotted us a few days to go look at colleges and we hadn’t used them up yet. So we hopped on a van and visited a very conservative college that we had no intentions on attending. (See the picture where he and I were buried in the sand from 1999.)

And thinking back on our adventures driving my parents’ Ford Aerostar minivan, equipped with paintball guns, out on back roads at night, it easily reminds me of the Alan Jackson song, “We got a little crazy but we never got caught…”

Now, we are both married and have two kids who are nearly the same ages. Another coincidence is that his wife’s name is Holly, while my wife and I named our daughter Holly. And our son’s middle name is William.

Last weekend, my dad officially unveiled his new playground, which he has been building for years now. After remembering that William and his family only live a little more than an hour away from my parents’ house, I invited his family over.

My sister’s family was there too; whose children are also in the same age range; a total of three 4 year-olds, two 9 year olds, and one 11 year-old. Our families ended up all being a perfect match, as expected.

William is one of those close friends where we always pick up right where we left off. We get older, along with our hilarious shared memories from high school.

But we relate to each other just as easily now in 2020, as we did in the late 1990s.

Dear Holly: You Love Going to Marshalls with Nonna!

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

I have a feeling you might have initiated the idea to go to Marshalls, while Nonna and Papa were taking care of you when Mommy and me were in Colorado a couple of weeks ago.

Needless to say, by the time you got back from the store, you ended up with a new pair of light-up Minnie Mouse shoes, a Paw Patrol “smart watch” toy, and a tin of Paw Patrol cookies.

When you go with Mommy and me to Marshalls, you simply are looking to see what you will ask for the next time Nonna and Papa are in town!




Dear Jack: Teaching Your Sister to Shoot a Bow and Arrow

9 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Because of your continued interested in learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, we have now set up a target range in our backyard.

Mommy and I recently made a small investment in getting you and me our own “professional practice bows” to train on.

That means you donated your Nerf bow and arrow to your sister.

You even gave her a free lesson.

Granted, she stood a lot closer to the target than you and I stand when we shoot arrows at the target.

It was about a year ago that you first showed interested in archery.

I’m glad to see we are able to make this a reality for you.



Dear Jack: Going to Olive Garden is a Special Treat for You and Your Sister

9 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday while Mommy and I were enjoying our final full day in Colorado, you and your sister got to go somewhere special for dinner: Olive Garden.

Shortly after you arrived, you quietly announced, “Wow, this Olive Garden is really fancy!”

I find that hilarious because I’ve never known you to be impressed by a “fancy” restaurant.

It’s funny because when I was a kid, my idea of a good time at a restaurant was any place where the meal came with a toy and where there was a playground to enjoy after I ate.

But now, for the modern kid in 2020, maybe Olive Garden is the new McDonald’s!