Dear Holly: Your Monster Feet Slippers

1 year, 5 months.   

Dear Holly,

Grandma got you some fun bedtime slippers to wear with your pajamas. They turn your cute little feet into huge monster feet!

For the past couple of weeks, Mommy has been trying to get you wear them while she reads you a bedtime story. You have been quite skeptical, only leaving them on for a few seconds each night.

But perhaps that is changing, now that you are really getting into shoes. Even when we’re not about to go outside, you still walk over to the closet and insist on picking out a pair of shoes for me to help put on you.

It’s a normal thing for you to be playing with your toys in the living room, while wearing your pink Nike running shoes; not because you need them, but because you are a shoes girl!

I think in your mind, you’re not fully dressed until you are wearing shoes, even if you’re just hanging out at the house with us.

You are forming your identity. It’s becoming obvious that shoes are a part of who you are.

So, even if the “shoes” are actually funny monster feet during your bedtime story… you are recognizing, they are still shoes!

This past weekend you decided to go public with your monster shoes. And by public, I mean that you decided to walk out of your bedroom during story time and show your brother and me.

I’m not quite sure if you fully realize that the monster shoes are meant to be silly, but as you strolled around upstairs in them, you proudly showed them off.

Your fashion show was met by us praising you for how cute you looked in them.

Yeah, you are going to be a shoes girl… even if they turn you into a fury monster!




Dear Holly: You are Very Serious about Riding the Electric Princess Scooter

1 year, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

I honestly don’t even know how it ended up at Nonna and Papa’s house, but what I do know is this, you’re sort of obsessed with the electric princess scooter they now have for when you visit.

Last Saturday while I was filming a video of Nonna explaining how she makes her Italian vegan soup, Mommy was outside with you; pressing the gas handle for you and helping you steer.


You loved feeling the breeze blowing through your hair. You loved being able to drive down an actual road, as opposed to the living room carpet you’re used to at our house. You loved the freedom.

Once it was time to come inside for lunch, you got very upset. Here you had just made this amazing discovery, and now you had to forsake it!

So later that day, I took you back outside to your glorious new ride. Mommy wasn’t joking when she had warned me how much you loved that electric princess scooter.

It’s funny because the thing is so small and low to the ground, yet moves pretty quickly for what it is, I had trouble keeping up with it, as I awkwardly hunched over while holding on to the gas and helped you steer.

Fortunately, you gave me a break right about the time I really started needing it. You decided you wanted to push your electric princess scooter down Nonna and Papa’s driveway. So let you.

I followed behind you, though you didn’t really need me at that point. You had it all under control.

As I watched you push the scooter, it was like seeing the equivalent of a teenage kid who gets their first car, then proudly spends time washing it, when they could be driving it.

My little girl is serious about riding! Hey, I can dig it.



Dear Holly: You Live Up to Your Middle Name, Joy

1 year.

Dear Holly,

Saturday morning our family drove a few miles down the street to Ms. Aimee’s place, for her to take your official 1 year-old photos. She was your brother’s preschool teacher when he was 4 years-old. It just so happens that her roommate, Ms. Michelle, was his teacher when he was 3 years-old. But neither of them had met you yet.

Actually, it was Ms. Aimee who helped us find the American Girl doll, which was your main birthday gift from us.

During the couple of hours we were there, both Ms. Aimee and Ms. Michelle couldn’t help but keep bringing up what a doll you are; that you literally look like a doll that has come to life; especially when someone sees you in person, as opposed to seeing a picture of you.

They also noticed how content and happy you are. You’re also expecting the best out of people and the best out of the situation. You go along with whatever we’re doing with a big smile on your face as if to say, “Oh, I’ve never done this before. This is going to be fun!”

Mommy and I didn’t give you the middle name Joy simply because we thought it was a cute name for a little girl. We chose it specifically because, as Mommy explains it, “When you think of a little girl with Joy in her name, how could she not be a delight to everyone around her?

For sure, nothing about your middle name is ironic. You are truly a joy to be around.

I love to spend time with you and take care of you, because I know you are a source of light and life.

Yeah, I have to admit: Mommy and I did a great job naming you Holly Joy.



Dear Holly: You Just Love Getting All Dressed Up and Going Places

11 months.

Dear Holly,

A couple of weekends ago, we travelled to Chattanooga for my Aunt Rosa’s wedding. Fortunately, the dress you wore at your Uncle Jake’s wedding back in October still fit just fine. Mommy waited to put it on you until we got to the parking lot of the wedding venue.

As she put the dress on you there in the front seat of the car, you smiled and giggled, knowing that whatever was ahead, it was going to be exciting.

You were so excited as we entered the civic center where knew we half of the people there. And of course, they were excited to see you. For many of them, you were just a little baby the last time they saw you; now, you’re just a few weeks ago from your 1st birthday.

Something I am quickly learning about you is that you truly love to get all dressed up and go places. It’s not that you need a lot of attention on you, but instead, you just like to be part of the action.

You are so fascinated by life.

Even this past Saturday, you treated our day of running errands as a morning of entertainment. We stopped by Sprouts to buy some groceries, then several shoe stores, then Which Which for lunch, then Kroger for more groceries, and then Ross so I can pick out part of my birthday gift.

Each and every time we lifted you out of your car seat, you treated the new parking lot like a land of opportunities. You had the biggest smile on your face as you looked around, with such optimism.

Another way of looking at it is this: you travel well.

And that’s good, because at the end of next month for Memorial Day weekend, our family will be taking your biggest road trip yet- to Pensacola, Florida.

I am confident you are going to be thrilled by the experience.



Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

9 months.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly,

It just so happened that I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break on Valentine’s Day. No cavities, by the way…

My dental hygienist pointed out they had just refilled the treasure box full of toys. So I got a little pink bear to add to your Valentine’s Day bundle.

Mommy also had me pick up a pink ball for you, to match the pink Strawberry yogurt puffs.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Though you weren’t quite sure what the gifts were all about, you still gladly went along with the festivities.

Plus, of course, Mommy dressed you up in cute Valentine’s outfits. Seriously, you are so cute!

Despite being only 9 months old, the little girl in you is very evident. I love what I see of that little girl so far. I love having you has my daughter.

Something that is definitely different about you compared to your brother is that he never cared about having a pacifier. But as for you, it’s a fun accessory.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

I love it when you’re just playing and then for no apparent reason, you pick up the pacifier and stick it in your mouth. My favorite is when you’re falling asleep in your bed, and your pacifier falls out of your mouth.

Every time, you just take matters into your own hands: You put the pacifier back in your mouth so that you can officially fall asleep.

So yeah, I wonder if you are going to be the kind of little girl who likes carrying it around, like Maggie Simpson.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Maybe that means that you won’t still be treating your baby blanket like it’s a member of the family, when you’re in Kindergarten, like your brother does.

And though Jack is quick to help you play with your toys, he never lets you play with his blanket.

As you can see, you really enjoyed your very first Valentine’s Day.



Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

9 months.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly,

As I carry you around through the house on a daily basis, as if my arms are your own personal flying throne like C-3PO had in Return of the Jedi, I am constantly (and perhaps involuntarily) streaming a series of praise phrases to you.

One that I catch myself saying a lot is, “What’s Little Sweetie gonna do today?”

This is a fact: You are a particularly sweet strawberry-blonde 9 month old daughter. Even when you’re mad, it’s simply hilarious. But you really only get upset about funny stuff.

Like last night, Mommy handed you over to me after she realized you had too much energy to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. So I laid down on your bedroom floor, and just let you repeatedly crawl over me. You loved proving to yourself you can cross the terrain of my chest, time after time.

But after nearly 30 minutes, you had finally worn yourself out. It was like you got upset that your arms were too tired to pull yourself up and that your head keep falling on me too.

You got mad because you ultimately had too much fun.

I always love to see “what Little Sweetie is going to do today.”

One of the things you love to do is to take a ride on my Simply Fit board, which I ordered after seeing it featured on an episode of Shark Thank. You think it’s normal to hold on and get a tour of the bonus room upstairs.

I never had to teach you to do this. You just saw it one day, and then looked at me as if to day, “Okay, Daddy, I’m ready to ride it!”

It makes me wonder how many other infants appreciate the thrill of their Daddy pulling them around on a Simply Fit board.

You and I both like to keep things interesting. We’re a good match.



Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

6 months.

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

Dear Holly,

I love you in a way I’ve never loved anyone before. You have completely added to my quality of life over these first 6 months of your life.

It reminds me of a song called “Everything” by Lifehouse, which is actually a song about God. However, there is a line that I feel completely describes the effect you have on me:

“How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?”

It is beyond my comprehension that throughout the history of the world, including now, there have been and still are fathers who don’t feel the same way about their daughters as the way I feel about you.

I cannot relate to the concept of a father brining a daughter into this world, only to ultimately abandon her, neglect her, or simply not completely adore her.

Before you and your brother were born, it was quite normal for me to consider what the meaning of life was.

However, this is the first time since 2010, when your brother was born, that I’ve thought about “the meaning of life.”

Because since becoming a parent, I haven’t needed to think about that.

God has given me great blessings and great responsibilities: You and your brother.

I don’t take my role as your Daddy lightly. I’m a big deal to you both, whether I want to be or not.

The outcome of your life is largely based on how I express my love to you and your brother.

And while I love your brother just as much as I love you, there is undeniably a specifically different role in being a father to a daughter, as opposed to a son.

I simply must adore you and nurture you and guide you and protect you and lead you.

Anything less would simply be heresy.