Dear Holly: Social Distancing During Coronavirus 2020

3 years, 10 months.

Dear Holly,

I’m not sure how much of Coronavirus 2020 that you’ll remember, but from what I can tell, you’re still having plenty of fun.

Mommy took you and your brother to the Dollar Tree to buy you both some things to your “Entertain Yourself Survival Kit”.

You are loving your flash cards! You showed them to Nonna and Papa over a Face Time call a few days ago.

Since we can’t see the rest of our family until this all clears up a bit more, this is how we’re getting by.

I don’t really think you’ve noticed anything is even different at our house, honestly. That’s good!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Getting the Purple Glove Treatment for the Flu

3 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

Last Friday afternoon, I received the call from your school that you had a temperature of 105 degrees! I took you to doctor and confirmed what your school had accurately predicted: You officially had the flu.

The doctor made it clear you would be contagious for the next week and were not allowed to go back to school for that long.

I was very impressed with how well you handled yourself during the entire doctor visit. You started getting a bit restless there towards the end, as you kept trying to tell me something while the doctor was explaining the process of giving you medicine.

“Oh, I forgot,” I explained to the doctor. “Holly is hoping she can take care a pair of those purple medical gloves you have there in the box hanging on the wall.”

That’s all it took to make you happy, despite how physically horrible you were feeling.

You wore then on the ride home. You wore them to bed. And you wear them the next day while you played with your toys.

Getting the flu meant you needed the purple glove treatment!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You’re Becoming Aware of a Sense of Fashion

9 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

As you’re now in the 2nd half of your 3rd grade school year, I am noticing the acute progression of how you are starting to care more about what you wear… and your hair.

I am sensing that halfway into 3rd grade, part of the culture is to start trying to stand out with what you wear to school.

So when you proudly wore your new WWE wrestling shirt to school, I knew to immediately ask you when I got home, “Did anyone notice your new shirt?”

I see this is as the beginning of you discovering the fine line between presenting yourself as an individual, while at the same time between aware of what is current and trending.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: The Hamster Didn’t Get the Toy Blocks After All

3 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week, my coworker Lori was able to get some free cardboard blocks from her community’s “buy, sell, trade” Facebook page. The simple concept was that these blocks would be perfect for our family’s pet hamster.

He loves to chew cardboard and make beds out of small boxes. So it was a perfect idea.

However, the blocks never made it upstairs to the hamster’s aquarium.

That’s because you and your brother have been making up games all week using them. Castles have been built. Escape rooms have been constructed. Towers have been set up.

Imagine- that kids would actually get to play with toys intended for kids, as opposed to a hamster!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Seeing Frozen 2 with Your Cousins During Christmas Break

3 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

This Christmas was very special. Not only did you have your two older cousins come to visit from California and Mississippi, but you got to see Frozen 2 with your younger cousins.

You have obviously been very excited to go see Frozen 2- and finally, it worked out for us to see it as a family… alongside your cousins. It was an ideal situation.

The funny thing is, once the movie was over and Mommy asked you what you thought of it, you responded, “I didn’t like it. I wanted the other Frozen.”

Apparently, you were under the impression you were all going to see the original Frozen movie in the theater together… despite you watching it every Saturday morning at our house!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Initiating Trampoline Football During Christmas Break

9 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

It is customary that I always keep a Nerf football in my Jeep. The main reason is it help secures the convertible roof panels when I remove them and store them in the back.

But also, you never know when you might want to throw a football around.

During Christmas break, you saw me taking the top off the Jeep and noticed the football there and asked if you could play with it.

I replied, “Of course! That’s what it’s there for!”.

You then set up a simultaneous game with your sister and cousins on the trampoline. From what I can understand, the concept was this:

As you and your older cousin Calla saw how many times you could throw the football back and forth without missing, your sister and your younger cousin tried not to fall over.

I am proud of you for initiating this game and activity!

Love,

Daddy

3 Reasons Frozen 2 is Far Superior to the 1st Frozen Movie (Or It Isn’t, Based on the Viewer’s Own Current Perspective of Life)

There are two kinds of people in the world:

Those who prefer an upbeat, easy to follow story… and those who prefer a story that is more mature, mysterious, challenging, and darker.

I feel that I have always been very open about how overrated the first Frozen movie is. Over the years, I have expressed this multiple times in other blog posts.

My biggest beef with the first Frozen is that the true villain is not Hans, but instead, the parents; for psychologically damaging their daughters by ultimately locking them in their separate bedrooms without explaining why, while not allowing them to communicate with each other.

Seriously, that’s messed up!

So as you can imagine, I was not overly anxious to finally see Frozen 2 over Christmas break. It was just simply going to be a movie I sat through as my fatherly duty.

Fortunately instead, I was relieved, surprised, and impressed- to the point I knew even within the first 10 minutes that Disney had made the bold move to give Frozen a sequel that it (and an audience who is now 6 years older) deserves; as opposed to a copy-and-paste-of-the-original cash grab.

Granted, there are many people who do not agree with me on this.  As I’ve been talking to people about Frozen 2 in comparison to the first, this what I have consistently found:

Either you love Frozen 2 and think it is far superior to the first…

Or you don’t like Frozen 2 at all because the first one was so much better.

I have yet to meet a person who believes both movies are equally good. No in-between.

You can even see this on Rotten Tomatoes, where the first Frozen got a 15% higher score on the Tomato Meter, but Frozen 2 scored 15% higher with the Audience Score.

I have come up with 3 reasons Frozen 2 is either much better (or worse) than the original. My theory is that a person’s reaction to Frozen 2 is ultimately a reflection of the individual viewer’s perspective of their own life.

  1. Major Character Growth: Taking place 6 years (in real time) since the first movie, Frozen 2 gives us a realistic look at what “happily ever after” actually looks like. That means we need to see Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf experience the next new challenge to help their growth as individuals. (That’s because happiness requires character growth.) Specifically, Olaf openly encounters a full-on existential crisis, as noted in his song, “When I Am Older.”
  2. More Complex, Introspective Songs: Instead of using the easily likable universal guitar chord progression (G-D-Em-C) exploited in “Let It Go” (similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”), Frozen 2’s lead track “Into the Unknown” actually requires much more of the song performer and the listener. These songs aren’t as instantly catchy as those from the first Frozen- they grow on you, just like Frozen 2.
  3. More Challenging Plot for the Viewer: The first half of Frozen 2’s technically falls into the category of a thriller/horror movie, as Elsa follows a mystical and ominous voice only she can hear; which serves as a metaphor of how part of the human experience is simultaneously following our hearts, while not allowing our own questions about the future to turn us into our own worst enemies. Some of my favorite quotes of Frozen 2 illustrate how the characters (and the audience) began to understand the importance of emotional intelligence as individuals:

Elsa: “That’s just your fear. Fear is what can’t be trusted.”

Kristoff: “My love is not fragile.”

General Mattias: “Be prepared, just when you think you found your way, life will throw you into a new path.”

That last quote ultimately reveals the theme of Frozen 2. This sequel forces us to come to terms with whether or not we are willing to move on from what life was like 6 years ago.

That is fundamentally what determines whether a person believes Frozen 2 is superior, or inferior, to the first.

Image credit- Disney.