Dear Holly: You are a Little Doll Who Has Come to Life

3 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

This week, Mommy and I completed the difficult task of narrowing down the 20 professional portraits taken at your school to just 3. Actually, we were not successful.

Because we ended up paying extra money so we could get 5 instead.

The easiest way to summarize how I feel about these photos of you:

You are a doll.

For me, it’s truly coming to the realization that if toy companies needed a real life girl to use as a model for making dolls, they would use your picture to base it off of.

You are a little doll who came to life.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our Family Quarantine Jeep Ride Through Laurel Hill Wildlife Management Area

9 years, 4 months.

For the 3rd weekend in a row now, our family has designated an entire Sunday afternoon to taking the Jeep out to some new random town we’ve never been to, in an hour radius from where we live.

This time, I decided to search “Wildlife Management Area near me”. Having grown up right next to one in Alabama, and having really put the Jeep to the test on that one last summer, I figured that any wildlife management area near us in Tennessee would be worth the drive.

I was right.

Once we arrived at the 15,000 acre park, we immediately saw another black Jeep like mine. I approached the driver and passenger to ask them where the best place to start was.

Billy and Angie offered to show us around, so we just followed them.

Your favorite part was when we drove on top of the dam. You also enjoyed playing on a pile of rocks with your sister.

I’m pretty sure we just discovered a new Jeep-friendly playground!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Diggin’ Up Bones (from Owl Pellets)

9 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It is an unspoken understanding that anytime you have an extracurricular activity sponsored by your school, it will be just you and me. In most cases, Mommy stays home with your sister, getting her ready for her bedtime which is earlier than yours.

Or, in the case of the Super Bowl Breakfast last month, I dropped off your sister first, then ate with you and your school.

Last night, your school conducted his annual STREAM night, where every classroom in the school becomes a different science experience station.

Your favorite was the one where you got to dissect an “owl pellet.”

As I just happened to learn from one of your library books a few weeks ago, owls can’t actually chew up their food.

Instead, they just swallow it whole, digest the meat, then regurgitate a furball of bones.

After you dissected your first owl pellet, which turned to be the remains of a mole.

You enjoyed it so much, you then requested to dissect a 2nd owl pellet! You were the first and only student to make this request.

The 2nd owl pellet was for a shrew; an animal I can’t differentiate from a mole.

It is confirmed that in our kitchen pantry (not sure how that ended up being the most appropriate place!) there are now two plastic baggies containing the bones of two undigested rodents.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Brother is Helping You Learn to Draw Animals

3 years, 10 months.

Dear Holly,

This past week at our house, we have been focusing more on manners.

I am very pleased with the results I have been seeing since.

Your brother has been very helpful in kindly teaching you how to use flashcards and how to draw on your magnetic tablet.

Yesterday morning as I was making a protein shake, I saw how he made up a fun game for you:

He provided 3 flashcards at a time; each one of a different animal. Then you chose one to draw.

It was precious. Every animal you drew was a smiley face with arms and legs growing out of it.

Except for the buffalo. They had antlers which looked like little arms on their heads.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our New Family Tradition of Visiting Bell Buckle the Weekend Before Christmas

9 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

As long as I’ve known Mommy, she’s always been curious about the exit on 1-24 for Bell Buckle, on the way back from Nonna and Papa’s house in Alabama as we make our way back home to Tennessee.

This year we decided to finally check it out, once Mommy found out that Bell Buckle hosts a Christmas parade on the weekends leading up to Christmas.

We enjoyed a hay ride with Santa, then got to check out the local shops in the town’s downtown area.

It was so much fun, we decided to make it a new family tradition!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Love S’mores… Maybe a Little Too Much!

3 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend when our family visited Bell Buckle, Tennessee with Nonna and Papa, there was a s’mores station set up in the area as we waited for the hay ride with Santa.

I had my doubts that you would actually eat the S’mores sandwich I made you. Instead, I assumed you would just each the chocolate bar.

To my surprise, you labored over eating the whole thing; as it was much, much bigger than your little mouth.

You were still finishing it off once we got to the hay ride; as seen in the family photo of us, where your mouth is wide open and you are clutching the s’mores in your hand.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Can You Just Stay 3 Years Old Forever?

3 years, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

Here recently, I’ve been hearing Mommy ask you, “Holly, can you just stay 3 years old forever?”

She’s got a good point.

This is definitely an enjoyable age for me as your Daddy. You’re potty trained. You can clearly communicate what you want. And you do a great job of entertaining yourself during times Mommy and I are getting household chores down.

In fact, you’ve even begun helping with some of those chores, including help me clean the toilets and the hamster’s aquarium.

What I love best is how adorable you are these days. You are basically a stuffed animal kitten that came to life and can talk now.

I’m sure 4 will be great too.

But as for right now, I’m in no rush for you to stop being 3 years old!

Love,

Daddy