Dear Jack: A Snow Day When You Were Finally Supposed to Go Back to Your Classroom

10 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

You were definitely ready to go back to the actual classroom on Monday; as it had been a month, between Christmas vacation and Covid cases going up.

But instead, you had to stay home one more day; because on Monday, snow prevented the school from opening.

Not that you minded!

I spent my lunch hour taking you sledding on all the best hills in our neighborhood.

During that time, we pretty much used up all the good snow, and then the snow was starting to melt anyway.

But we made the most of it and we had a lot of fun together!

Dear Jack,



Dear Holly: You Drew a Picture of Butt Cheeks at School, But Then Felt Bad About It and Crossed It Out

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

When you came home from school on Monday, you immediately started telling me the story of how your friend Maddie heard Isaiah say “butt cheeks”, but that the teacher didn’t hear it.

You explained how Isaiah then took it to the next level by drawing a picture of butt cheeks.

Then, you opened up a folded drawing of your own; unashamedly announcing to me:

“And I drew butt cheeks too… but then I crossed them out.”

My theory is that you were afraid you’d get in trouble if anyone at school saw your drawing, but you still wanted to show it off to me.

I was able to decipher two circles, drawn in green crayon; with an orange mark going through them.

It was a big news day at school and you brought home proof!




Dear Jack: Using a Pumpkin as Target Practice for Archery

10 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Though we haven’t had much of a chance to shoot our bows since last summer when you were in archery camp, we made some time for it this past week.

You had the cool idea to use an old rotting pumpkin as target practice.

I’m not surprised by this at all, because you truly have skills, but you were able to hit the pumpkin on your very first try!

And that was using an old broken arrow with a missing head!

Not to mention, you simply fired it as a practice shot!

You have talent. I am impressed!



Dear Holly: Using Your Pink Jeep to Haul Around a Rotting Pumpkin

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

This past weekend, though the weather was barely warm enough to do so, we spent some time outside so you could play in your new Jeep you got for Christmas.

Your brother decided to take an old pumpkin that has been sitting on our front porch since Autumn and began to have fun destroying it in the cul-de-sac.

Your new Jeep was used to carry that heavy load around until your brother found a good spot to roll it down the hill.

It’s a good thing you have hefty new vehicle to help in events like this one!



Our Family Pet is a Syrian Hamster… And I Am Its Calm Assertive Pack Leader

I admit: I am not a dog person. Nor am I a cat person. I like dogs and cats, just not enough to become personally responsible for their survival and/or livelihood.

So beyond caring for my wife and kids, what living creature do I have enough capacity left to care for?

I’ve got just enough left in me for… a rodent.

Specifically, a Syrian hamster.

When my son turned 9, over a year ago, he wanted a hamster.

It became immediately obvious, the moment we brought him home from the pet store, that Alpha was going to be my pet instead.

To be clear, back in November 2018, I knew nothing about hamsters.

So, thank you YouTube.

I learned that we needed to buy an aquarium for him to live in, instead of the “cute” hamster cages they sell at the pet stores where you buy the hamsters.

I learned how to hand-tame him.

I also learned that Syrian hamsters, being nocturnal and solitary animals, typically bond with one specific person in the household; in the likeness of a dog respecting the authority of the calm assertive pack leader.

Every night after the kids get ready for bed, I take the hamster out to let him crawl around in my hands, as I create my own version of a hamster wheel for him.

That’s when the kids like to take turns petting the hamster; which is the extent of their involvement with him.

While we are able to leave him alone at our house for a weekend, Alpha gets to go to Alabama where we stay at my parents’ house for Christmas vacation; which was for a week and a half in 2020.

This year, Alpha enjoyed crawling around in the Christmas wrapping paper- and feasting on Pistachios.

Syrian Hamsters typically don’t live more than 3 years.

That means that this year, in 2021, the year I turn 40, Alpha the Syrian Hamster will be officially experiencing the start of his midlife crisis along with me.