Dear Holly: You Love Serving Coffee and Tea to Everyone!

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Growing up, I would see in movies, TV shows, and commercials where the young girl character just loved having tea parties. I always thought, “That’s not really how little girls act. They don’t really like to pretend to have tea…”

But now that you’re here, I have learned it’s not just some random cliche.

It’s real.

Here’s proof from our recent family vacation to Florida.

Pretty much all of your play time when we were in our condo was devoted to you carefully and meticulously arranging all the coffee pods on a plate, then serving them to us.

This past weekend, while we went out for time at Cracker Barrel, you saw a $4 set of miniature tea cups and dishes.

Mommy and I couldn’t say no.

Then back at the house as soon as you got home, you spent a solid 30 minutes pretending to pour tea in the tiny cups. I sneaked up and pretending to quickly gulp one down.

I loved the look on your face, as I could easily read exactly what was going through your head:

“Okay, so that is good that Daddy drank the tea and liked it, but now I do need to make some more so there is enough to refill that cup…”

That is what it’s like to be a 4 year-old little girl.



My New Hamster Dad T-Shirt: Fist Bumping “Best Friends for Life”

Over six months ago now, back on November 16th, 2019, my son turned 9 years old. To my own surprise (still to this day), I agreed to let him get a male Syrian hamster as a pet.

Obviously, that meant that on November 16th, 2019, my son didn’t become the proud new owner of a pet hamster. Instead, I became the extremely reluctant new owner of a pet hamster.

After the first couple of weeks, during the initial 30 days period where the pet store would allow us to get a full refund, my son officially decided he wanted to take his birthday present. My son wasn’t attached and he didn’t want the responsibility.

But I just couldn’t do that to the little guy… I am referring to the hamster, here.

So I did some research on YouTube and learned what I needed to know to be a good hamster dad.

I bought a 20 gallon aquarium, instead of the stupid plastic toy one we originally bought. I taught myself how to hand-tame the hamster. I learned the importance of helping the hamster live in a feng shui environment; regularly placing new cardboard boxes in the his tank, and hiding food throughout his home.

And of course, I take him out every evening when when he wakes up, to play with him. (Syrian hamsters are nocturnal.)

To me, it’s undeniable I have become the best hamster dad in the state of Tennessee.

So it only made sense that I should use some of my “birthday budget” (my wife and I are faithful Dave Ramsey followers) to buy a t-shirt to express how proud I am to be a hamster dad.

On Amazon, I found this really cool one that has a man and a hamster fist bumping, with the caption reading, Best Friends for Life.

There’s a built-in joke in there: Syrian hamsters typically only live to be 2 or 3 years old.

So my goal is to celebrate these next couple of years and give this hamster the best life a hamster can have!

If you want to buy a hamster t-shirt like mine, just click here to find the best deal on Amazon, like I did.

Dear Jack: Seeing Your Friend Sophie, After 5 and a Half Years

9 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

You first met Sophie when you were 8 months old and she was 7 months; back in 2011. We had just moved back to Nashville, and the two of you were in the same infant class at Kindercare.

Eventually Sophie moved away to Alabama (where we had just moved back from). Over the years, we have been able to meet up with Sophie a few times in passing.

However, I didn’t realize it had been 5 and a half years since we saw Sophie last! Back then, the two of you had just turned 4 years old.

That means that more time has passed since you saw each other, than how old you were when you last saw each other.

It’s funny how you have known each other your entire lives, but neither of you really remember each other; other than perhaps from 5 and a half years ago.

But this is the tradition now, at this point; that we will continually meet up with Sophie, in passing- and that will be the thing you two know each other from at this point!



The Jew(ish) T-Shirt: For People Like Me, Who Are Only Partially Jewish

How Jewish do you need to be in order to still be considered Jewish? Or maybe more importantly, how Jewish do you need to be in order to wear the new t-shirt I finally bought for myself:


It is a complex and complicated topic. After all, you can have 100% Jewish heritage going all the way back to Israel, yet not actually be a practicing Jew- observing the culture and faith.

On the flip side, you can be like Connie Chung, a Chinese-American, who adopted an identity of Judaism when she married her husband Maury Povich. She is kosher and attends synagogue.

And then there are plenty people in-between, like me.

My mother and I had always specifically felt connected to Jewish people. As a kid, I assumed we were in deed Jewish. I didn’t question it.

Then, a few years ago, my mother’s DNA test confirmed what most self-identifying Jewish people are telling me: Because my mother’s test shows she is 15.2% Sephardic Jewish (via Italy), that means that I am, as well.

Coincidentally (?), I have faithfully remained kosher for over 11 years now; well before DNA tests were easily accessible.

Therefore, I feel confident in qualifying to be worth of the Jew(ish) t-shirt.

If you feel that you qualify, as well, just click this link to find the best deal on Amazon, like I did.

Shalom… I guess.


Dear Holly: How Many More Years Before You Can Drink Coffee Too?

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

It is pretty much a daily conversation at our house. You say to me, “Daddy, when I’m older, I can drink coffee too.”

During the month and a half I was home from my job on furlough, which ended last week, you watched me everyday in the morning and afternoon, as I made myself instant black coffee.

Not to mention, you and brother join Mommy and me at whatever coffee shop we end up on the weekends.

I see Starbacks Frappucinos in your future. We just now let your brother start drinking the non-coffee flavors, and he’s 9 and a half.

You still have several more years, it sounds like.