Dear Jack: A New Bike, as an Early Birthday Present!

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

In just 2 days, you will be turning 9 years years old!

It won’t be long before you get to open all your birthday presents.

Fortunately, when Nonna and Papa were up at our house a few weeks ago, they gave you their gift early, so that you can enjoy it before the weather starts getting too cold to enjoy it.

You had clearly outgrown your old bicycle. The pedals were nearly hitting the asphalt.

So now, you have the new and improved version. It’s cool to be able to see the two compared right next to each other.

You are growing up!

Love,

Daddy

Today is My Wife’s Birthday, Meaning She and I are Both 38, While Our Our Daughter is 3 Years, 3 Months and Our Son is 8 Years, 8 Months!

Today is my wife’s 38th birthday! I have been 38 since April, as we were born just a few months apart.

I realized as my wife was putting the candles on her birthday cake that the reason we so easily had a “3” and an “8” candle was because those are the ages our both our children; from their most recent birthdays.

But even more amazing and coincidental than that…

Our daughter is currently 3 years, 3 months old.

And for the next 5 days, our son will be 8 years, 8 months.

Here’s one more visual, just to help grasp the concept:

Me: 38.

My wife: 38.

Our daughter: 3 years, 3 months.

Our son: 8 years, 8 months.

I just had to share that so everyone else could appreciate the phenomenon while it is still valid!

Dear Jack: You are 8 Years, 8 Months Old… While Your Sister is 3 Years, 3 Months Old

Dear Jack,

I am always interested in cool little patterns I happen to notice. Even if no one else cares, I like to take notice of such things.

For example, I just noticed that you are now 8 years and 8 months old, while your sister is 3 years and 3 months old.

I’m not that good at math, so I’m not sure if this pattern will happen again any time soon.

It’s possible it’s already happened before. But if it does happen again, I’ll definitely notice, since I not only keep up with how many years old my kids are, but also how many months.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Spent the Last $7 of Your Birthday Money on the Frozen Soundtrack

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

A week ago on the 4th of July, our family started out the holiday by going to one of the few stores around that was actually open and still sells CD’s:

Walmart.

We went there to buy a birthday gift for one of your brother’s friends.

While we were there, I headed over to the CD section, as I recently got a new stereo installed in my Jeep.

While I selected the remaining Imagine Dragons albums I still didn’t own yet, you picked up a nursery rhymes CD.

It happened to cost $7, which was the remainder of your birthday gift money from April when you turned 3 years old.

As I continued to thumb through CD’s, I noticed the Frozen soundtrack was available for the same price.

Needless to say, for the past week, you have participating in a daily ritual of sitting down and carefully listening to each song.

It is beyond adorable.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Gymnastics Lesson of a Birthday Party

3 years.

Dear Holly,

For your official 3rd birthday party, we booked you a gymnastics lesson at the rec center right around the corner from our house.

You loved being able to get an idea of what gymnastics is like; alongside your party friends.

The lesson actually took place while the parents socialized in the room down the hall. Then, when it was time, we all came in to see you and your party friends individually trek through the obstacle course.

I’m glad we chose this for your birthday party. It was so appropriate for a 3 year-old little girl!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Helped Your Sister Open Her Birthday Presents

8 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

A week ago for your sister’s birthday, you asked her if she wanted help opening her presents from Mommy and me. She accepted your offer, without hesitation.

You were genuinely happy for her for each new gift she opened.

Granted, I don’t believe there were any toys that you would even be interested in playing with.

You just wanted to do your part in helping your celebrate her 3rd birthday.

And you definitely did help make her big day feel that much more special, because you were right there next to her during the whole thing.

Love,

Daddy

Our Family’s DESTINation Family Road Trip for Our 8 Year Old Son’s Birthday, in the 2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier

My wife and I gave our son a choice: Would you want to have your 8th birthday party here in Nashville with your friends? Or… would you choose to go on a road trip to Destin, Florida with your family for half a week?

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Turns out, my son is a smart kid. Yeah, he chose the Florida road trip.

I admit: Being a daddy blogger has its perks- like Chevy loaning us a 2019 Traverse AWD Premier with a full tank of gas.

The very first time I worked with Chevy was 7 years ago when our family got to drive a Volt from Naples to Key West. That was also around the time Chevy sent me to Detroit with a bunch of other daddy bloggers to tour the facility where the Traverse is tested and built.

Seven years ago, my son was only one year old. Now he has a 2 and a half year old sister. Therefore, the Chevy Traverse is that much more relevant to our family. It just so happened that the main gift our son asked for was a new Kindle- and the Traverse came equipped with WiFi!

Perfect for a long road trip, for sure.

We totally appreciated all the cargo space, as we sort of overpacked by default, hauling not only swimming clothes along with winter clothes, but also our son’s birthday presents.

When we go on long road trips like this one (7 hours), the kids appreciate being in their own rows. Our daughter can fall asleep easier and our son gets to be in his own world. And up front, the parents actually get to have some uninterrupted conversations while SiriusXM’s Alt Nation plays in the background.

It’s always a gamble when staying in hotels overnight with a 2 and a half year old, but fortunately where we stayed at the Pelican Beach Resort, our daughter absolutely loved her “room”, as she called it: She occupied the bottom of the bunk beds which were built into the walls; each bed having it’s own TV.

Oh, and then there was the beach itself…

By the way, in case you didn’t catch it, the picture above is a play on words: Our last name is Shell and there are 4 of us!

Leading up to our son opening his birthday gifts, I hid a “gold bar” in the sand for him to find. However, he immediately figured out it was just a toy I planted there.

Here’s the video I made as it happened:

As for his birthday cake, we simply pressed the OnStar button and had the directions to Whole Foods sent to our GPS, and let our son pick out a gourmet cupcake for himself; meanwhile my wife and I shared one ourselves.

So this is what happens when as the parents, you decide that helping your child celebrate their birthday is more fun if you have a “DESTINation” road trip instead of a typical birthday party.

The right decision was definitely made here!

Thanks for reading my blog today. If you liked this story about our family’s recent road trip to Destin in the 2019 Chevy Traverse, stay tuned… I have a sequel blog post with more pictures and stories from our adventure!