Dear Jack: You Love Helping Nonna Clear the Backyard

8  years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Nonna and Papa have lived in their house for exactly 24 years, as of this month. I was just starting high school when we moved in.

But there are parts of that 2 acre lot that are just now being developed; largely inspired by the industrial grade playground that Papa has starting installing.

You have quickly assigned yourself the responsibility of helping to clear part of the land right beyond the playground; using a hatchet and helping maintaining the fire from the cleared brush.

What you don’t realize is that this is ultimately free child labor…

But to you, it’s nothing but fun and adventure!

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: Your Brand-New Industrial Grade Playground Swing

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Having a Papa who works at a playground equipment factory means that you when visit your grandparents’ house in Alabama, you have access to a backyard playground that is above and beyond the norm.

Last weekend, the debut of your brand-new industrial grade swing was revealed.

You loved it so much, you just didn’t want to stop swinging in it.

At one point, you swung in it for a solid hour and a half before Mommy said it was time to go in for dinner.

You have the Cadillac of all playground swings for a 3 year-old girl!

Love,

Daddy

Leading My Son and His Friends on a Scavenger Hunt Hike through the Creek, in Search of “Toxic Rocks” to Defeat the Villain, Red Rover

Last month my 3rd grader son and I left from the Cub Scout orientation meeting broken-hearted. I myself was in Cub Scouts for 4 years back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a major part of my childhood.

But it’s not set up the same way anymore. At the meeting, the adults were ultimately informed that if we wanted our sons to be in Scouts, we would be volunteering to be the actual leaders.

In a household where both parents work full-time, I knew that it would be unwise to commit so much of my time to what would ultimately be a part-time job that would indirectly pay other people’s salaries, in the likeness of a multilevel marketing pyramid scheme.

So I decided to start my own group; for all the boys whose parents couldn’t commit to the actual organization.

I set up a “scavenger hunt hike” at a nearby park with a creek. Once all the boys arrived, along with a few younger sisters, a villain who called himself Red Rover popped out of the bushes.

He explained that his great-grandfather originally own the land, but instead of being able to inherit the land, it was given to the city as a public park.

Therefore, Red Rover hid 8 “toxic rocks” along the creek, which would dry up all the water if the boys couldn’t find them all within the following hour.

Here’s a video of that event:

As I expected, all 8 toxic rocks were found within the hour. Therefore, Red Rover returned from the bushes, in an attempt to take them back from me.

This led to a low-budget Marvel style fist fight between Red Rover and me.

Here’s the video for that part:

The boys (and their sisters) enjoyed playing on the park afterwards, as my wife had brought some snacks for the kids to enjoy as well.

And some might call this a major coincidence, but my friend Ben showed up after the scavenger hunt hike rough-house with the boys.

It was a plan that came together!

Now that the launch went well, I am excited to plan the next event…

Dear Holly: It’s Always Dress-Up Time!

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Whether it’s borrowing your brother’s superhero gear or dressing up as Peppa Pig, thanks to the accessories that came with your kitchen set last Christmas… you love to dress up!

At your school when I pick you up in the afternoons, I love to sneak up on you, as I see you playing in the Snow White dress from their dress-up wardrobe.

So now I’m starting to wonder, is Halloween really going to be that big of a deal to you here in a few weeks? It’s already as if everyday is Halloween!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Teaching Your Sister to Sword Fight, Who is Half Your Size and a Third of Your Age

8 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

A few weeks ago, you spent your allowance money on some swords and shields at the Dollar Store.

Well, this past weekend, your 3 year-old sister was as eager as you were to practice sword fighting with you.

So the living room become the arena, where a brave little girl who is half your size and a third of your age showed no fear as she begin sword fighting her brother.

You were wearing a dragon mask; meaning that your sister was fighting the dragon!

To her, this is simply normal. So I guess your allowance money is well spend that week!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Found a Way Around My Rules About Coming Downstairs Too Early in the Morning

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Our system has been working pretty well since I initiated it earlier in the summer:

You can’t come downstairs in the mornings when you wake up, until the old cell phone alarm goes off first.

This structure has successfully got you out of the habit of waking up at 5:08 AM; before anyone else.

But I do think it’s funny what you did one day this past week…

I had just gotten out of the shower, about to make my breakfast smoothie, when I heard your brother shout, “Holly! Quit being a creepy doll!”

Apparently, you woke up earlier than you knew you were supposed to that morning, and decided to camp out on the very bottom stair- so that you technically were not downstairs.

That is quite clever. As your brother, you accidentally scared him, as he was not expecting to see a little girl facing up at him as he made his way downstairs as it was still dark outside.

I like that is hilarious!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Making a 3D Drawing of Your Blue Fangs Funko Pop Vinyl Figure

8 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

I love to see the pride you have in choosing how to spend your allowance money each week. In the past week since you bought your Blue Fangs Funko Pop Vinyl Figure, you have since been creating art based on the character.

You spent the weekend working very hard to perfect a drawing of Blue Fangs; then you carefully crafted a castle for the creature to stand in front of, as his domain.

Then you cut out of drawing and glued it over the background, to make a 3D picture.

I love to see you use your artistic skills!

Love,

Daddy