Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the Williamson County Lego Competition!

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the County Lego Competition!

Mommy and I are so proud of you! You had been confidently telling us, “Mommy… Daddy… I’m going to win.”

You were right.

Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the County Lego Competition!

This past weekend as soon as we got in the doors of the Williamson County Fair, we headed straight over to the Lego tables to see how your entry did in the competition.

Right away, I blurted out to you and Mommy, “Jack, you won 2nd place!”

That means out of all the 4 to 8 year-olds in Williamson County who entered the competition, the judges thought your entry was the 2nd best. Seriously, that’s a huge deal!

I love the fact that you competed with kids who were nearly twice your age and still won.

One of the main things the judges were looking for was originality. I can solemnly testify the 3 “space vehicles” you created were completely your own.

Mommy and I had no part in helping you at all.

Building Legos is what you do. You’re constantly building new creations every day; only to tear them apart and come up with new ones by the end of the week.

I’ve actually seen you make more complicated Lego inventions than the ones you entered. The winning entry just happened to be the collection of the ones you made that particular week.

Mommy and I have been saying it for a while now… and your teacher Ms. Aimee has been saying it too…

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“We have a future engineer on our hands. What else would Jack possibly be?”

You love to make your own Lego inventions- and they always have to be symmetrical. No one taught you that stipulation, but it’s an unbreakable law in your code to building Legos.

With all that being said, you’re just as talented at building actual Lego sets with instructions. You recently spent some of your own money on a new set that was targeted for ages 8 to 14.

I barely helped you at all. Actually, I was relieved you pretty much took care of building it because I might have gotten too frustrated to finish it.

You and I made an unboxing video for the set: Legend of Chima: Eris’ Fire Eagle Flyer.

Your 2nd place Lego award is your first ever real award! Mommy and I just couldn’t be prouder of you!

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Oh yeah, and while we were at the fair, you also won your very first game prize. You popped balloons with darts and got to pick out an animal: You named her Libby the Lizard.

You’re a natural!

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We also had a lot of fun this week because we celebrated Mommy’s 34th birthday at Whole Foods, with vegan pizza and cake!

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And you even drew these really cool pictures for her!

Love,

Daddy

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How To Know If You’ll Leave Nashville After You Move There, If You Have Kids

I moved to Nashville from my home state of Alabama on September 11, 2005; over 9 years ago. I was here about a year before I met my wife, who had moved here a year before I did, from Sacramento, California.

How To Know If You’ll Leave Nashville After You Move There, If You Have Kids

We have been married 6 and a half years now and have a 4 year old son.

Something we have recently noticed is this: Married couples move away from Nashville after a few years if one of them doesn’t have close family that lives within “drivable distance.”

A few years ago, my son Jack’s good friend Henry moved to Texas. A year ago, his best friend Sophie moved.

Several of the married couples who we knew pretty well from church also moved away after a few years.

The reason is typically the same: They move back to where one set of their parents live; especially after having kids.

Apparently, Nashville is not the kind of city where it’s practical to raise kids long term unless you have a set of parents who lives within drivable distance, where you could visit and get break around once a month; as well as the major holidays.

How To Know If You’ll Leave Nashville After You Move There, If You Have Kids

Nashville is a great place to raise a family. There is money here, but of course, the lifestyle can be wearisome. It’s was ranked as The Daily Beast’s #44 worst commuted city in America; as of the most recent 2010 census.

As for my family, we are closing on a new house in Spring Hill, a popular and wildly growing “bedroom community” which is exactly 35 miles from Nashville.

In other words, to live a comfortable middle class lifestyle in Nashville, we have chosen to live outside of Nashville, but making our money inside Nashville.

Not to mention, Nashville is the kind of city where, if you want to live that “comfortable middle class lifestyle,” you have to either pay to put your kids in private school, or you have to live the “right” county, which is Williamson.

williamson County Seal

Half of Spring Hill is in Williamson County and we wouldn’t have considered building our new house there if that wasn’t the case; as our new house is in Williamson County.

It is one of the wealthiest counties in America, ranked the #17 wealthiest in the U.S. as of the 2010 census, but surrounded by others which are not; making the Nashville area’s school systems quite different from one another; though just a few miles apart.

In the small town where I grew up in Alabama, you didn’t have to worry about which school you went to. In fact, there was only one “choice.”

But here in the Nashville area, it’s something that hard-working middle class people have to consider and build their lives around.

So if you’re family is planning (or considering) to move to Nashville, please ask yourself these questions…

tn-williamson-county-tennessee-1888-map

“Do we have family (like a set of parents) in a drivable distance from Nashville who we could stay with at least every 2 months, to get a break from the fast-paced lifestyle?”

“Does it matter that our kids get into a good school, knowing that the school systems are very polarized based on the income brought in from the people who collectively make up that county?”

school map

Not that those are the only issues to consider, but based on my more than 9 years of experience living here, those seem to be the ones that cause families to move back to Ohio and Texas and Maryland… or wherever else they moved here from.

Feel free to ask me any questions about this. I want to help if you’re trying to figure out if you should move your family here.