Dear Holly: You Chose Acapulco Mexican Grill for Your 5th Birthday Dinner

5 years.

Dear Holly,

For dinner the night of your 5th birthday, Mommy and I let you decide where you would like to go; out of all the restaurants in the area of Spring Hill, Tennessee; where we live.

You chose Acapulco Mexican Grill, which is in walking distance from our house.

(In fact, we’ve walked there for dinner on more than one occasion!)

It is a Mexican tradition that at the end of the meal, the wait staff comes to smash dessert in your face.

Since you are only 5, our waiter went easy on you by just barely dabbing your nose with whipped cream from a slice of cheesecake.

You thought it was so much fun!



Dear Holly: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

5 years old today!

Dear Holly,

Today is going to be a very exciting day! You are now 5 years old and we have a very special event planned for you.

We are hosting a special “tea party” birthday party for you and some of your friends from school; as well as your cousins from Alabama.

And for dinner, when we asked you where you would like go to out for your big day, you responded, “Acapulco Mexican restaurant because they have the good macaroni and cheese- and Jack likes their pizza.”

I know it’s going to be such a fun 5th birthday for you.

I love you, Holly!



Dear Jack: You Wanted Donuts and Vegan Blueberry Muffins for Your Birthday Party at Your Pre-K

4 years, 11 months. 

Dear Holly or Logan: We’ll Know in 13 Days Whether You’re a Girl or Boy

Dear Jack.

Your 5th birthday is on Monday, but we decided to go ahead and have your “school birthday party” today before the weekend kicks in. Normally we would take cupcakes for you and your friends to enjoy to celebrate your birthday, but this year, you had a different specific request…

Donuts and vegan blueberry muffins.

So yesterday I hopped in the 2015 Lexus GX 460 that we are driving this week and drove to Whole Foods, which is just a 5 minute drive from where I work.

Dear Jack: You Wanted Donuts and Vegan Blueberry Muffins for Your Birthday Party at Your Pre-K

I was able to get your chocolate-covered sprinkle donuts and the vegan blueberry muffins right there at the same spot. I brought home 4 donuts and 6 muffins. Mommy and I were discussing how we would get your teacher to cut them in half; and that even then, that would be a lot of food for 5 year-olds.

You then proclaimed to me, “Tell my teacher to save a whole donut for me because I want the whole thing, not just half.”

Here lately, you’ve been saying other things like that which have really cracked me up.

Dear Jack: You Wanted Donuts and Vegan Blueberry Muffins for Your Birthday Party at Your Pre-K

We drove past a place that sells those glorious wooden playgrounds. They had one that was a pirate ship. It cost $1600.

You declared, “If I had that pirate ship playground at our house, I would never watch anything on the Kindle, because I could play on the playground.”

I told Mommy, “Maybe we should get Jack that playground. He would never, ever watch anything on the Kindle again. All he would ever do would be to play on his pirate ship playground…”

You intervened, “But sometimes, I would.”

I think I actually had you convinced we would have bought you that $1600 playground if you had agreed to never watch the Kindle again. I thought it was hilarious how you attempted to make a bargain with Mommy and me.

Funny stuff.

Okay, so imagine this: The next time I write you a letter, you’ll be 5 years old!



Dear Jack: Your 5th Birthday is So Close!

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: You’re 5th Birthday is So Close!

Dear Jack,

You will turn 5 on Monday, November 16th. That’s about a week and a half from now!

For the past couple of months, you’ve been “nearly 5 months” in my head anyway. Soon, we’ll make it official.

For your whole life, you have been receiving a new book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, each month. Today’s book apparently is the final one; as the program ends when you turn 5.

The book is called Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come! Granted, you won’t be starting Kindergarten until August 2016; around the time Mommy returns to work from being on maternity leave.

This week you also received your first birthday gift, in the mail. Tuesday afternoon as I was taking out the garbage, I noticed a box on our front step.

I assumed Mommy had ordered some maternity clothes from online. But we quickly figured out it was for you instead.

Brian Murphy's Homemade Vegan/Vegetarian Tomato Soup Recipe

Someone sent you a really nice backpack with your name embroidered on it. You love it!

We all liked it so much that Mommy and I are considering getting another one and using it for Holly or Logan’s diaper bag.

This weekend you and I have a very special event coming up. We’ve been invited to attend the Nashville Auto Show this weekend!

I have a feeling we’re going to have a lot of fun there; possibly getting to see cars so new they’re not even out yet.

I wonder if we’ll see anyone there that we know. Sounds like a perfect father-and-son activity for us to attend. We’ll have to take some pictures there to help expand my Instagram network: @nickshellwrites

And for your actual 5th birthday, we have something super duper special planned. With it being your last birthday as an only child, we decided to do more than just a birthday party this year…