Dear Jack: You Love Helping Nonna Clear the Backyard

8  years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Nonna and Papa have lived in their house for exactly 24 years, as of this month. I was just starting high school when we moved in.

But there are parts of that 2 acre lot that are just now being developed; largely inspired by the industrial grade playground that Papa has starting installing.

You have quickly assigned yourself the responsibility of helping to clear part of the land right beyond the playground; using a hatchet and helping maintaining the fire from the cleared brush.

What you don’t realize is that this is ultimately free child labor…

But to you, it’s nothing but fun and adventure!

Love,

Daddy

Our Back Porch and Back Yard are Like 2 More Rooms of Our House in the Summer (Featuring American Plastic Toys)

This makes the 3rd summer we’ve spent in our house since it was built, yet it’s the 1st summer we’ve really made an effort as a family to utilize those 2 forsaken “rooms” of our house: the back porch and the back yard.

It’s becoming the norm these days that, as a family, we end up hanging out there under the blue sky, with the soybean field in sight right over the fence. My one year-old daughter loves it when I take her out there just to watch the robins fly by. She points to the sky, “Wuh? Wuh?”

I then confirm, “Yes, birds. Birds.”

While we were on vacation in Florida last week, American Plastic Toys sent our family some samples of their outdoor sports equipment for kids. (And yes, these products are actually made in America.)

So this past Saturday morning, we finally were able to break out the new outdoor sports toys and have some fun.

We made our way out onto the lawn so my son could hit some home runs. I forget how big our lawn actually is, but playing baseball helped put our “field” to use.

Our back porch transformed into a golf course, as our son wanted to refine his skills for the next time we visit a putt-putt place. Eventually, our golf game transitioned in to a hockey match, as our son is quite aware of the Nashville Predators. Before he was ready to move on, though, he also engaged me in a sword fight, using the golf clubs.

Summer is on its way. I want make sure we make good use of the great outdoors, especially when they are literally right outside the back door.

As for my daughter, she’s happy just to watch her big brother play, as she uses our back porch as a training facility for learning to walk.

My Family is Enjoying Our New Dynatrap DT2000 XL Insect Trap

My wife was born and raised near Sacramento, California. Even though we’ve been married nearly 9 years now, it wasn’t until we moved into our new house in 2015 that I learned this from her: In California, they don’t really have bugs… like we do here in Tennessee.

Yeah, apparently, she didn’t grow up having to worry about mosquitos, flies, wasps, and yellow jackets. I can’t imagine!

But now that we have a home with a decent sized backyard, she has been dealing with the dilemma of wanting our family to be able to hang out on the back porch, yet knowing… there will be bugs.

Lucky for me, in the midst of this, Dynatrap reached out to me a few weeks ago, asking me if I’d be interested in receiving a free indoor/outdoor Dynatrap XL Insect Trap for my family to enjoy. Plus, they asked me if I would mind hosting a giveaway here on my blog.

It was a no-brainer. And what perfect timing!

We are so grateful to now have a “bug zapper” to help clear the air from pesky bugs as we enjoy our outdoor living room.

I held a giveaway which concluded on May 31, 2017; in which Christi Lanier Hamilton won a free Dynarap XL.

 

 

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

5 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

Dear Jack,

Last weekend you and I came up with a fun way to welcome in the warmer weather. I grabbed one of your bath toys from when you were a toddler and we headed out to the same creek we explored a couple of months ago during the blizzard.

The plan was simple: Drop the turtle into the creek and see how far we could follow it.

Because of the recent rain, there was plenty of current to carry your turtle along without much delay. It even made it all the way through a storm drain. I had thought for certain you and I would have to creep in there and rescue it; but no, not at all.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

Good thing you were wearing your Spiderman rain boots, by the way.

I couldn’t help but sort of notice, the further we went along, that we were technically in between two backyards at all times.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

The creek apparently serves as the divider between backyards on two parallel streets. Hopefully I was right in my thinking that us walking right alongside the creek, we weren’t actually in anyone’s backyard, no matter which side of the creek we were on.

No one came out and stopped us, at least.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

The coolest part was when the streets began veering away from each other into a “Y” formation, causing there to be a patch of woods in the middle. It was there that we discovered a really cool tree house!

That was about the place where the creek sort of faded into the woods. By that time, we needed to meet Mommy back at the house for dinner.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

So the next day on Sunday, I drove you two or three neighborhoods away, in an attempt to pick up right where we left off from the day before.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

We indeed found the creek, but more importantly, we found an entire flooded field; which was again, technically in was people’s backyards, but not quite.

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

You enjoyed poking a stick into mole holes as well as jumping into the puddles. It’s amazing what interesting things you can find in your own backyard… or someone else’s!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Exploring Other People’s Backyards, Technically

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

4 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

Dear Jack,

This past week was very special because not only did Nonna and Papa (my parents) come back in town to help us move in, but so did Grandma (Mommy’s mother)… she flew in from Sacramento!

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

You helped Papa and I build a 2 person desk for our office. (I’m sitting on it now as I write this.) Something we are learning about things we bought for our house (like the Roman Shades and your bed we finished last week, as well as this desk) is that they look awesome once you work your way to the finished product…

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

But getting there is quite a task. That’s what happens when you buy stuff cheap from China. It’s basically the equivalent of a Lego set.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

Yes, we bought a desk; in theory. But in reality, we purchased all the pieces necessary to build it completely ourselves. Over two days, it took us a total of about 4 and a half hours.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

You celebrated the finished product buy karate chopping the Styrofoam packaging, then “taking a bath” in the aftermath.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

We also had a lot of fun seeing you flying a kite for the first time… in our cul-de-sac.

I love it that we live in a cul-de-sac. I know this may sound weird, but I always liked the idea of living in one- and now we do.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

And it was awesome being able to play in our very own backyard for the first time as well. I felt so… American.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

I helped you find dirt to put in your dump truck, so that you could them “wash the animals in dirt shampoo.”

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

Our moving in process still continues, but it’s very rewarding to see certain rooms coming together now.

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

I’m really enjoying our new home and there is no doubt you are too!

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House

We have every reason to celebrate our new home. After all, we’ve earned it. Our family has paid our dues to get where we are.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The 2nd Week Of Living In Our New House