Dear Jack: It’s Better to Watch One of Mommy’s Movies Than No Movie at All

8 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

You are allotted one hour of screen time on Saturday and another for Sunday. Other than, you don’t get the option to use a tablet, laptop, phone, or Netflix.

Well, there is an exception, actually:

If Mommy or I feel like taking a break and watching a movie, then that obviously doesn’t count against your hour for that weekend day.

So this past Sunday afternoon while I was working on a big blog post I’ve been putting off, I insisted that Mommy relax and watch a movie.

Both you and your sister were doing a great job of convincing me that neither of you were tired enough to need a nap. That meant you got to hang out with Mommy instead of going to sleep.

You didn’t complain at all that Mommy was watching one of her straight-to-Netflix, Southern-themed romantic comedies.

Hey- it’s better to watch one of Mommy’s movies than no movie at all.

Love,

Daddy

Advertisements

Dear Jack: It Was Time to Smash Your 2 Year-Old Volcano in the Cul-De-Sac

8 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

In December, you finally erupted your volcano kit that you had received for Christmas from two years before.

This past Sunday, after you took a break from riding your four wheeler and then your razor scooter, as we took advantage of the surprisingly sunny afternoon, you then assigned yourself a fun activity.

You had found that volcano in the garage, along with your hammer.

So needless to say, you had a great time destroying that volcano in our cul-de-sac.

Looking back at the picture, I guess I should have had you wear some goggles instead of the helmet you happened to already been wearing.

Oh well. That volcano lived a good long life.

Love,

Daddy

Top 3 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained in the Airport  

The car will break down, the flight will be delayed, your passport will disappear, your kids will be bored, security staff will be about as friendly as an army officer at a hostile checkpoint… 

And the list goes on. Travelling to the airport will produce a series of paranoid worries in your head that are difficult to escape from. After all, there’s a reason these worries exist – in the hubbub of an international flight hub, a lot of things can go wrong. 

study by CPP has found that a third of people now believe the airport is more stressful than the working week, and one reason for this is the sheer amount of worry that a simple flight from A to B can cause.  

Whether it’s the scrum through security or the battle through crowds to your departure lounge, these are not environments conducive to relaxation.  

All of this is related to a lack of control in these clinical corridors. This feeling of powerlessness is exacerbated if you’re a parent trying to ferry their children through the mad world of aviation scheduling.  

But fret not – we’re here to help you regain some control over your flight paths, and help you get from A to B without blowing your top.  

Take a look at our list of tips and you’ll find making your way through the airport with your family that little bit easier.  

Park privately  

The search for a decent parking spot at an airport is ultimately futile. It’s probably easier to find the holy grail. But, unlike the search for the holy grail, other options are available.  

If you need to bring your car to the airport, we’d recommend you pick a private parking provider. Many are out there, but one of our personal favorites is Looking4.com. This team of parking pros has a number of bases in the US, whether you want to fly from New York, Florida or even Atlanta. And it’s got a site which is easy to navigate.  

Bring a hobby  

Back in the days of the abacus and the ball on string, kids were bored stiff in airports. Flight hubs are notoriously bereft of non-retail-based stimulation and, as such, children will grow restless quicker than usual.  

If you want to stave off boredom, make sure to bring an activity like the Nintendo Switch. It’s a portable console that’ll keep your kids captivated until you reach your destination.  

Get luxurious  

VIP departure lounges might sound like an exorbitant pipedream, but they aren’t as expensive as you might think.  

For your cash, you’ll receive a quiet sitting area that’s loaded with fun activities for kids and adults alike. This is well worth a few extra dollars.  

That’s our list! Can you think of any great tips for someone travelling to the airport with their kids in tow? Then let us know in the comments below.  

Dear Holly: You Appreciate New Clothes the Way Your Brother Loves New Toys

2 years, 8 months.

LoDear Holly,

Your brother doesn’t have the ability to ever be excited about receiving clothes as a gift.

But it’s a completely different story with you.

Last weekend, Mommy presented you with the dress that was meant to be one to wear to church on Christmas Sunday; but we ended up not going that day.

So you got to debut your Christmas dress a few Sundays late. And you were so happy, and so proud, to be wearing it.

To you, a dress or new outfit is a toy. It registers the same in your brain.

Your Christmas dress happened to be one that Mommy found brand-new (and very cheap!) at a consignment store.

But it still had the tags on it, so it was completely new to you.

Look at you in your new dress. You are such a precious little girl!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and Crossfire with Your Sister Before School

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Two months ago, when I took you to Target so you could spend a $25 gift card you received for your birthday, I also invested in the classic board game Crossfire for our home.

It has truly served its purpose as a casual form of pick-up entertainment in our living room.

But this past weekend, you realized that there are some major similarities between Crossfire and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

So now, both games take up the real estate of our living room table.

I’m happy though. You and your sister even entertained yourself this week before school; alternating between the two games.

It’s like having our own little arcade in our living room!

Love,

Daddy

3 Ways to Enjoy the Weekend with Your Family, When You Live in a Commuter Town

As of this month, our family has now lived in our “new home” for 4 years. We moved from the edge of Nashville to a commuter town, or bedroom community, which is 36 miles from Nashville.

We reside in a town full of other families who are in the same situation as us: We drive nearly an hour to get to work each day, yet we live, eat, and sleep in our cookie-cutter homes which were built on top of old farm land.

So while living in a commuter town is great because it provides a more affordable, quiet, safe community to raise a family in an excellent school district, the major downside is that it’s easy to feel trapped there. This is because commuter towns typically have little commercial or industrial activity beyond a small amount of locally oriented retail businesses.

Therefore, the temptation lies in basing weekend plans around going to Nashville; having to travel with young kids for an hour one way, based around the kids’ desperate needs for naps they don’t want- plus having to pay for parking, food, and entertainment. Otherwise, we end up ironically feeling “stuck” in our house.

But this past weekend was really good for our family. And the thing is, we didn’t do much.

It was so noticeably enjoyable, that I decided to write this blog post to determine the formula for our success. So here it goes…

1. We didn’t leave town. When you have young kids, being in a car can pretty quickly drain your happiness level as a parent; especially if that drive is any longer than 10 minutes. So much stress is elevated from both the parents and the children when the family doesn’t have to leave town. Because even if it’s in the name of entertainment, it’s often not worth it if by the time you get there, everybody is tired and frustrated.

2. We didn’t eat any meals at restaurants. While not having to cook, or sit through a meal with kids who don’t want to eat anyway, then have to clean up for that meal is a glorious thing, the reality is, it’s still not that great to have to pay money for food while having to entertain and referee kids who don’t want to be there in the first place. When I was a kid, I loved eating at restaurants. But I recognize that my kids’ generation is apparently not wired the same way.

3. We did hang out at a locally owned coffee shop. While dining at a restaurant can be a bit too much with young kids, going out for coffee can be totally enjoyable for the whole family. We visited our favorite local coffee shop, Legacy Coffee, this past Saturday morning. Not only is the coffee the best in town, according to my wife and me, but there are plenty of freshly baked pastries for the kids. So we hung out for about 20 minutes, all enjoying our delicious calories. It was a fun outing, yet it didn’t require much of a drive, or a time commitment, or a heavy bill, yet it helped contribute to a local business.

So that’s my advice, if your family also lives in a commuter town.

Sure, we travel to my parents’ house about 2 and a half hours away once a month, and go on vacation to California as well as Florida each year.

But other than that, the majority of our weekends take place where we actually live. So for those weekends, I will be more mindful of these three tips I learned this past weekend.

Dear Jack: Your Brand-New Homemade Lizard Blanket!

8 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week, you stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house for a few days while school was still out.

You and Nonna stumbled across some unused fabric from 20 years ago, of lizard print.

So that gave you the idea to ask Nonna if she could make you a lizard blanket.

Just your luck, she was happy to do it!

She took you upstairs to her sewing machine, so you can to see it being made.

Needless to say, you were to proud to bring home for brand-new, yet very classic, homemade lizard blanket.

It is safe to say that it is the only one in the world:

A small blanket with lizard print on one side, and a soft plush on the other.

 

Love,

Daddy