Dear Holly: You Won the Boat Race Against Your Brother!

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

You have now been initiated into the Shell tradition of boat racing in the creek.

Back in college, some of my friends and I would make silly boats of of plastic bottles and race them in the creek in a nearby park.

Several years ago, when your brother was about your age now, I started teaching him how to make boats to take to the creek.

Now this tradition has been passed down to you, as your brother built a brand-new boat for you.

Honestly, I wasn’t even involved in the process. He took care of it all.

All I did was walk the two of you down to the creek and watch you both have fun.

And as it turns out, you actually won the boat race!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Helping Your Sister Build a Boat for the Race

8 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Over the years, you and I have had this tradition of going to the creek in the next neighborhood over, to sail your newest homemade boat.

Now that it finally rained recently, allowing to give the creek water again, we decided to head back there.

But first, you spent some time with your sister after church, helping her design her own boat, so that the two of your could race them.

To your surprise, her boat won the face.

To my surprise, that didn’t bother you at all.

I think you were just proud to teach her how to have fun in a new way!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Ladybug Boat and Its Tragic Voyage Out to Sea

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Our friends Mohamad and Lena got you a really cool craft box for your birthday. It has provided the ideal outlet for all your creativity when you’re trapped inside the house on a bitterly cold December.

Your ultimate creation so far has been your boat, equipped with a special tether so you wouldn’t lose it.

I told you I’d take you to the creek in the next neighborhood over, once you were ready to try it out on the water.

So last Sunday, the weather was warm enough for us to outside for a little while. You happened to catch a ladybug, which you placed in a plastic capsule that had served as the container for a 50 cent toy you bought from the machine at Kroger.

You named the boat Ladybug Boat.

The ladybug served as the fearless captain. That bug had to be fearless, because…

Even with the tether, you ended up losing a grip of the boat as you hung it over the tunnel to drop it in the water.

That brave little ladybug, along with the boat itself, entered that tunnel never to come out the other side across the street.

It’s as if they entered a whole other dimension. That’s the best case scenario, at least.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: We Went on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

5 years.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Dear Jack,

In addition to you being able to pet and feed the dolphins at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, another really fun thing our family was able to do last week while on your “destination birthday party” in Destin was we sailed on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise.

What the event personally revealed to me was that I could probably be out on a ship all day long every day and be completely happy.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

But it’s even better when you have an experienced captain give you a tour of where all the dolphins hang out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Basically, whenever anyone on the ship thought they saw a dolphin, the captain steered in that direction, so everyone could get a closer look.

For about 2 hours, that’s what we did. And it was awesome! Not to mention, it was so relaxing being out on the water.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Once we got out there, the captain gave you kids an opportunity to feed the seagulls… that was hilarious!

Plus, we even saw a bride and groom across the water on a different ship.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Part of the adventure of the cruse was the mystery of it. The captain explained at the beginning of our voyage that each time is different; he never knows exactly when or where the dolphins are going to appear.

I thought it was really cool how the captain depends on audience participation for the dolphin cruise to come alive.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Near the end of our voyage, the captain gave an opportunity for all the kids to be able to get in line to sail the ship with him.

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

You couldn’t get enough! You totally were in the zone as you held onto the wheel. I Instagrammed the event:

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

The captain even wrote out a special award for you, making you an honorary captain!

Afterwards, you got to pick some toys from the treasure chest.

We were so pleased with the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise. It’s a completely worthwhile experience and I absolutely recommend it to any families staying in the Destin, Florida area while on vacation.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Dear Jack: The 4th Week Of Living In Our New House

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Dear Jack,

We’re just about fully moved in by now. We’re still waiting on our living room couch, though. It’s been delayed a total of 7 weeks now, due to it being such a popular piece of furniture. Actually, it was out of stock the day we bought it. Today I was able to convince the store to ship to us for free. It worked!

Still have to wait another month for it to get here, though.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

In the meantime, the matching chair has been waiting in our living room for its counterpart. In fact, Mommy did a really cool job of having your “growing up” pictures. She created an abstract heart shape. It looks really neat.

Mommy didn’t even mean to; it just ended up that way. I think it’s very appropriate, though. In the middle is a sign that reads, “All because two people fell in love.”

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

With it is very true, it’s also reference to a Brad Paisley song from the first CD Mommy ever bought me.

This has been the week of getting all of photo frames off the floor and onto the walls. Therefore, this is the first week we’ve been in our new house where you’ve actually been able to run around like a little boy is supposed to do.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

It wasn’t a surprise to me that you insisted on taking me upstairs so I could help you dress up in your superhero costume that your friend Madison got you for your birthday.

We snuck down stairs so you could surprise Mommy, who was in the middle of making dinner.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

You darted from the living room to the kitchen no less than 17 times before dinner time.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Afterwards, we made vegan cookies for the first time in our new house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Meanwhile at your new school, Rainbow Child Care Center, your teacher Ms. Aimee bought a new gecko!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Here’s what she told me about your interactions with it this week:

Jack wanted to make a boat out of cardboard. He worked very hard to cut different shapes out of the cardboard, tape, and construct his boat. He also got to hold our new Crested Gecko! He giggled as the gecko climbed up due to his Velcro like feet. Jack is an absolute joy having in my class. I’m excited to see how he grows throughout the year!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Our new life is quite enjoyable. Mommy and I were just talking last night about what an uphill journey the past couple of years have been for us. We were new to being parents, while working hard to get out of debt and find a bigger house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

We’re there now. Now we can take a minute to breathe… and focus our attention other things we have formerly had to put on the backburner.

In fact, I’m working on something right now that, if it turns out, could be really good for our family. We’ll see how that works out, in a few weeks or months…

Love,

Daddy