Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

Dear Jack,

We’ve now lived in our new house in Spring Hill, Tennessee for two years. One of our missions we just never got around to was to explore the cleared land across the street from the movie theatre. Originally, I had planned to shoot an episode of our superhero web-series, Jack-Man, there. But it just never happened.

So this past Sunday, instead of making you take a nap, I took you to the site we’ve been curious about for so long now. I couldn’t have known how much it would end up meaning to you.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

After all, I’ve taken you to some amazing places in nature, like Cloudland Park last summer near Chattanooga. But in the likeness of how kids often find more excitement from the cardboard box a gift comes in, instead of the actual gift itself, you were quite fascinated by the huge pile of red dirt that is slowly being developed across from the Spring Hill movie theatre.

It is clear that our father-son bond is most naturally strengthened when we are out in nature. That’s our thing. We can make a big deal of just dirt and rocks. We’ve always been good at that.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

You had forgotten your winter coat at school, so Mommy had you wear your oversized Columbia fleece pullover, as you brought along a “papered airplane” to fly over the canyons, and ultimately, for me to drop big chunks of dirt on top of.

“Wow, Daddy! We’re up so high!” you kept proclaiming.

Despite just being across the street from the hundreds of people of at the cinema, it was like you and I were in our own isolated world. You agreed it was kind of like being on Mars.

Amazingly, we made the drive home in less than 15 minutes. Not bad for travelling back from another planet.



Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

9 months.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly,

As I carry you around through the house on a daily basis, as if my arms are your own personal flying throne like C-3PO had in Return of the Jedi, I am constantly (and perhaps involuntarily) streaming a series of praise phrases to you.

One that I catch myself saying a lot is, “What’s Little Sweetie gonna do today?”

This is a fact: You are a particularly sweet strawberry-blonde 9 month old daughter. Even when you’re mad, it’s simply hilarious. But you really only get upset about funny stuff.

Like last night, Mommy handed you over to me after she realized you had too much energy to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. So I laid down on your bedroom floor, and just let you repeatedly crawl over me. You loved proving to yourself you can cross the terrain of my chest, time after time.

But after nearly 30 minutes, you had finally worn yourself out. It was like you got upset that your arms were too tired to pull yourself up and that your head keep falling on me too.

You got mad because you ultimately had too much fun.

I always love to see “what Little Sweetie is going to do today.”

One of the things you love to do is to take a ride on my Simply Fit board, which I ordered after seeing it featured on an episode of Shark Thank. You think it’s normal to hold on and get a tour of the bonus room upstairs.

I never had to teach you to do this. You just saw it one day, and then looked at me as if to day, “Okay, Daddy, I’m ready to ride it!”

It makes me wonder how many other infants appreciate the thrill of their Daddy pulling them around on a Simply Fit board.

You and I both like to keep things interesting. We’re a good match.



Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Games

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack,

Whatever you’re into and at given moment, Holly is always eager to be invited to the action. She sees you as an important source of knowledge, based on your 6 years of life experience, along with your adventurous boyhood perspective.

Last Sunday, all it took was me finishing a bottle of nearly expired cold-pressed juice from Kroger, with the “Woo-Hoo!” sticker on it to celebrate the savings.

Before I could make it over the recycling bag in the pantry, you saw the potential: “Daddy, can I have that bottle?”

You began tossing it into the air, finding enjoyment as it would bounce on the hardwood floor each time it landed. It didn’t take long for Holly to crawl over from the living room and plant herself right into the middle of the action.

She also could was able to see the wonder of an empty bottle flying through the air.

I know you aren’t aware of this, but it’s little events like that when you teach your little sister about life. She is learning from you. She is taking those lessons seriously.

As her brother, there are certain unique things you are able to teach her that I just don’t have an eye for. It’s those kind of reindeer games that remind me that you and your sister live in a version of the world where excitement can be found in things like… garbage.

Her already playful spirit is only being enhanced by your daily influence. There is a reason she immediately stops what she’s doing whenever you walk by. There is a reason she has a reverence for your silliness.

Because to her, you can offer life lessons that only come from an only brother. While she definitely loves her Mommy and Daddy, she looks at you in a way like she looks at no one else.

You’re a really big deal to her.



Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack: Your Parapharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Thank God.

It is because of God’s grace that this story has a happy ending.

You are okay now, but it was one intense weekend.

Saturday morning Mommy left your baby sister and me home while you two were planning on picking up the groceries (as our pantry and fridge were empty) and then to the doctor for a check-up regarding your Strep Throat (as you missed nearly every day of school last week because of it).

What was expected to be a forgettable doctor’s visit actually resulted in them sending you immediately to the Emergency Room in Nashville; which is about an hour’s drive from where we live in Spring Hill.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

As Mommy called to tell me this urgent news, she also informed me that her phone didn’t get charged the night before, so she only had 17% charge on her battery.

Six hours passed after that brief and urgent call, with me not knowing any news.

As the afternoon proceeded, the hunger started kicking in- not to mention, I realized that Grandma’s plane would be landing soon at the Nashville Airport; as she had coincidentally planned for visit for the next two weeks, all the way from Sacramento.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

It was about that time Mommy called me, having found access to a phone charger at the hospital, and informed me that you would have to stay overnight and possibly have surgery the next morning. Your Strep Throat had yielded a potentially fatal condition:

So I quickly packed an overnight bag for myself and a diaper bag for your sister, and miraculously made it to the airport in time to pick up Grandma, even with an unexpected trip to the gas station as I remembered I only had 1/8 a tank of gas in my car.

From there, I had to find my way to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. It may not seem like a big deal, but I had never driven there from the airport; only from our house, coming from the other direction on I-65.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Mommy called me and reminded me to pick up some dinner, since none of us had eaten in nearly 12 hours. Fortunately, I was able to stop at a Qdoba and pick up some burritos for us while Grandma stayed in the car with your baby sister.

Once we finally arrived, I traded places with Mommy, so she could take Grandma and your sister all the way back to Spring Hill.

That surgical holding room became our living quarters for the next two days. And despite the circumstances, you and I made the most of it. I enjoyed the time we got to spend together, just hanging out- something I know we don’t get to do enough of.

You ended up not needing the surgery, as the antibiotics in your IV helped reduce your neck paralysis enough over the weekend.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

I love you so much.

Crazy enough, I never had time to be afraid. I only had enough time to take care of you. And pray.

Monday afternoon you were able to come home- and by Wednesday, you were able to go back to school and I could easily see you were proud to go back.

And even though you never said it out loud, you were so happy to see your sister again. Neither of us had seen her in over two days, actually.

Dear Holly: It’s So Rewarding to See You When I Come Home

“Can I hold Holly, Daddy?” is now like your new catch-phrase.

Thank God you are okay. I just keep saying that over and over.



Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

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.



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!



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…


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.


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