Dear Jack: Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and Crossfire with Your Sister Before School

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Two months ago, when I took you to Target so you could spend a $25 gift card you received for your birthday, I also invested in the classic board game Crossfire for our home.

It has truly served its purpose as a casual form of pick-up entertainment in our living room.

But this past weekend, you realized that there are some major similarities between Crossfire and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

So now, both games take up the real estate of our living room table.

I’m happy though. You and your sister even entertained yourself this week before school; alternating between the two games.

It’s like having our own little arcade in our living room!

Love,

Daddy

Advertisements

Dear Jack: Your Brand-New Homemade Lizard Blanket!

8 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week, you stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house for a few days while school was still out.

You and Nonna stumbled across some unused fabric from 20 years ago, of lizard print.

So that gave you the idea to ask Nonna if she could make you a lizard blanket.

Just your luck, she was happy to do it!

She took you upstairs to her sewing machine, so you can to see it being made.

Needless to say, you were to proud to bring home for brand-new, yet very classic, homemade lizard blanket.

It is safe to say that it is the only one in the world:

A small blanket with lizard print on one side, and a soft plush on the other.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Don’t Need a Nap as Long as You’re Playing with Your Cousins

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

During the Christmas holidays, we spent one whole day at your Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew’s house. I enjoyed it very much.

That’s because I basically got the whole day off, just to sit back and enjoy old home videos that Uncle Andrew had transferred from VHS to our family’s own private YouTube channel that we were able to watch up on the flat screen TV.

There were so many classics, like the video I made Aunt Dana shoot exactly 23 years ago day, right before I got my haircut:

Meanwhile, you and your two cousins completely entertained yourselves the entire day, with all the toys they had in their playroom. For you, it was like getting to try out all the new toys in the toy store with your friends. And with it being a one story house, I never had to be watching to make sure you made it up or down the stairs okay.

You never even acted tired, so I didn’t have to put you down for a nap. And when you don’t have to take a nap, it’s one less thing for me to have to do.

You got to play. I got to rest. A good time was had by all.

Love,

Daddy

So I Guess I’ve Always Been a Side Hustler; Being a “Gum Dealer” in High School and Running a Convenience Store from My College Dorm Room

Looking back, I realize now that I’ve actually always been a side hustler; even in high school and college. Earlier today, I published an article declaring that my 5 SEO side hustles all made me a minimum of $1,000 each in 2018. But that mentality has been a part of me, undeniably, since at least when I was a teenager in high school. (See picture above.)

Here on the first day of 2019, I am learning a little bit more about myself. The fact that I have 5 side hustles as a 37 year-old man makes perfect sense, considering my scheming ways back to when I was a teenager.

When I started high school, I couldn’t help that notice that chewing gum was high in demand in the halls of my high school. It just so happened that it was weekly tradition that I would accompany my mom in buying groceries. I noticed that I could buy a multi-pack of Wrigley’s gum at nearly a wholesale price for $1.25; which contained 10 packs of gum (each of which contained 5 sticks of gum), then I could sell each pack for just a quarter. By the time I sold the 10 packs, when I could easily do in a 10 minute break, I had made $2.50. In other words, I was making 100% profit!

It didn’t took long before I became known as “the gum dealer.”

This was great for me. I got to social with all the different groups of friends, and met new ones, by offering them the best deal on chewing gum during each of our two breaks each day during high school.

It was also during high school that I began making my own videos, on VHS. Not only did I direct a horror movie, called “Frosty Bites”…

But I also filmed hair videos, too…

In case you missed it, I made over $4,000 in 2018 from my most popular YouTube channel and its Amazon links, which focuses on men’s hair and beards. And that’s not counting my 2nd YouTube channel, as well. This is not a coincidence.

Then when I moved into my college dorm, Dorm 15 at Liberty University, I took my gum dealer experience and opened up my own convenience store, using two micro fridges, and buying all my products for wholesale price at WalMart.

I sold soda, Little Debbie snack cakes, Ramen noodles, Hot Pockets, and frozen burritos. I even let my customers heat up their food in my microwave, so they could hang out with me while their food was preparing. I appropriately named my store, The Freshman 15.

Those profits went to financing my mission trips to Thailand in the summers of 2003 and 2004, where I was a 4th grade teacher specializing in ESL…

then teaching conversation English to high school students and adults.

Some things just never change. I am and always have been a side hustler. This is simply part of my identity.

Dear Jack: This is My Favorite Picture of You This Week, Throwing a Sea Cucumber Back into the Ocean

8 years.

Dear Jack,

For me, this picture of you perfectly captures who you are now, at age 8.

It was our first morning out on the beach last week in Destin to celebrate your birthday. The beach was covered in sea cucumbers, most of them appearing to still be alive, but barely.

I suggested that you throw as many as you could back into the sea.

Fortunately, you had your trusty shovel with you, which served as the perfecting launching pad.

While I’m not sure how many lives you saved that morning, I do know that the ones you threw back definitely stood a better chance of survival, had you not come along to rescue them.

I think it’s really cool how in this picture, not only is the landscape beautiful in a way not typically associated with Florida, but how you can see the sea cucumber flying through the air as the immediate result of your throw, still in motion.

This is a memory that I will always associate with your 8th birthday.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 8th Birthday

8 years old today!

Dear Jack,

There’s a page in the children’s book Love You Forever where it shows the son in his teenage years, as he’s dancing around knocking things over, while a slice of pizza lies there on the floor.

Yes, you’re still 5 years away from being a teenager, but here lately, I have been telling Mommy how I feel like we’re catching glimpses of you as a teenager already.

Something that clearly defines you is your confidence. You know what you’re good at and you also know what your weaknesses are.

And therefore, you base your identity off of that.

I am so proud to see that in you.

You clearly have a mind of your own. That’s something I value greatly.

And I am here to help you become more and more of who you are.

Happy 8th Birthday!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 3rd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 4th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 5th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 6th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 7th Birthday

Dear Jack: You Were Literally Smashing Pumpkins

7 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

One of my favorite bands in junior high and high school was Smashing Pumpkins. In fact, their 1993 album Siamese Dream remains one of my favorites of all time.

But all that was lost on you when you asked last Saturday, “Daddy, will you go outside with me so I can go smash the pumpkins?”

The light rain definitely didn’t stop you.

You began by taking your miniature hammer that you got with one of your crafts from Home Depot and started smashing the first rotting jack o’lantern left over from Halloween.

The task proved to be more difficult than either of us thought:

Your hammer basically just bounced off the pumpkin, for the most part.

Then you had another fun idea, “Daddy, can I roll the other pumpkin down the hill and see what happens?

What surprised us both is that after a few rolls, that pumpkin split in half.

It’s official:

The hill was mightier than the hammer.

Love,

Daddy