Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

5 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Dear Jack,

This past Saturday you and Papa and I had a genuinely great time at my Cousin Jessica’s wedding. It was a once in a lifetime experience you will never forget- I’m sure of it.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Back a couple of months ago when our family was driving back from Atlanta on our first family of road trip as a family of 4, we took a minor detour to go visit my grandparents on Papa’s side. We didn’t know it at the time, but that would be the last time we saw PawPaw Shell on this Earth.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Just a few weeks later, he passed away. You and I attended his funeral as part of our father and son road trip; while Mommy and baby Holly were visiting family in California.

To honor his life, my cousin Jessica had her wedding at PawPaw Shell’s farm in Sale Creek, Tennessee.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

I had never once in my life seen PawPaw wearing anything other than a flannel shirt and a pair of overalls. Never pants, never jeans, never shorts- just overalls. He was even buried in his overalls.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Undeniably, PawPaw Shell was one of the most Southern men I ever knew.

Therefore, for my Cousin Jessica to have a wedding that also honored our grandfather… it had to be unapologetically country. So it was.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

For the music, Jessica’s step-dad pulled up his truck to the barn and rolled down the windows, so everyone could hear the music.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

After the wedding, everyone lined up for the meal, which consisted of potluck. As for Papa and me, we brought the vegan pasta salad that Nonna made. There was also some vegan chili there as well.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

I found a cinder block for you to sit on to eat the mac-and-cheese Nonna packed for you. Had we realized though, mac-and-cheese was actually already a menu item on the barn buffet.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

A popular place to sit during the meal was in the bed of one of the many pick-up trucks there.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

You enjoyed your wedding favor, which was a children’s duck call.

After the meal, we walked down to the pond to go fishing. You had never actually been “real fishing” before, so this was a really big deal for you.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

No one brought bait, so it was a matter of digging for worms and catching grasshoppers…

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

My Cousin Jessica’s son Breyan was able to catch 3 fish right in a row! That was especially amazing, since he explained to me it was his first time fishing.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Unfortunately, you didn’t have such luck. You didn’t catch your first fish, but we will surely try again.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake! w18

As we made our way back to the barn to get you a piece of wedding cake, we saw my Cousin Angie’s son with a ball python around his snake.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake! w20

He explained it was his pet that he’s had for a year and a half. I decided to hold the snake, as I don’t necessarily remember holding one before at any point in my life.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

You decided to pass on the opportunity, which surprised me, since we go to the Repticon reptile show every year.

After we left the wedding, Papa drove us by the famous Spaceship House on Signal Mountain. PawPaw Shell helped build it, back in 1973.

Dear Jack: It’s the Barn Wedding Where You Can Catch a Fish and Hold a Snake!

Though it all may seem like a dream to you now, I promise, it was all real. That all really happened! From the fishing to the snake to the UFO house!

Love,

Daddy

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2016-lexus-es-300h-father-son-road-trip/

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

4 years, 9 months.

11954601_1212017932158058_1420316713047464734_n

Dear Jack,

This is the 1st of several entries in my new miniseries, Family in a Camry. In August while on our annual family vacation, Toyota loaned us a 2015 Camry for our road trips around California.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So I decided to compile all our video footage and photos into a narrative to remember our trip.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

After a day of flying from Nashville to Sacramento, you and I set aside a day to spend together; just father and son.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I struggle for a relevant phrase to describe a fun father and son day of activities. In the past I’ve referred to it as a “dadventure,” but “daddy date” is the phrase most people identify.

http://www.toyota.com/responsive/vehicles/2015/camry/#!/Welcome

However, that’s a tricky phrase because it typically refers to father and daughter dates. When you talk about a father and son having a “date,” it does sound kind of weird.

Oh well, I’m committing to the phrase. I don’t care.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

But I should also acknowledge there are critics out there who would say, “Why do you have to call it anything at all? Why can’t a father and his son hang out without it having to be a big deal as compared to if a mother spends time with her child? That’s like when people say a dad is babysitting.”

My reasoning is this: Mommy and I both work full time. It can be challenging enough for us all 3 to have good quality time together; much less just 2 of us at a time.

118Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Therefore, it’s worth celebrating when I can spend a whole day with you. I am very aware of the unique dynamics that occur when you and I get to hang out together doing fun stuff.

So with that being said, once we settled in, you and I had some good times together at the Elk Grove Park; in the midst of a family reunion. We discovered that you and your cousin Scarlet have the same owl toy; you got yours in the Nashville airport on the way there.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

You and I went fishing. It was something you had been looking forward to for weeks. You even especially packed your bug catching net for the event.

Yes, you are a vegetarian and I am a vegan, but we still made it work…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We didn’t have much luck with the fish in the pond there at the park, but you were very successful at “catching snails.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For some reason, there were large, vacated snail shells all around the edge of the pond. So you filled your net with them and you were quite proud of your catch.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Later we went to go a see a movie together. While you were set on going to see Minions, for some reason you changed your mind on the drive there. Actually, I’m glad you did, because we loved Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it, too:

5 Reasons Why Inside Out is the More Feminine Version of Big Hero 6

Who Is the Real Villain in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out?

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I thought it was funny how you told me your favorite part of the movie was the female character, Sadness, who you told me is “a boy with long hair.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For lunch we went to a vegan restaurant, which is a franchise, called The Loving Hut. I let you choose what we’d have for dessert. You chose the orange vanilla cake; we split it 50/50.

I was happy that successfully shot you with the straw wrapper.

Of course, I created a 2 minute video that features everything I just told you. So here it is:

But wait, there’s more…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We also spent a couple hours together filming the 19th webisode of Jack-Man as well. Here’s that video as well.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So there’s the 1st official entry of my Family in a Camry miniseries. Still more fun to come…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

<div class="jetpack-video-wrapper"><span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/2OkLhYPqO1g?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span></div>

Dear Jack: You Think We’re Just Fishing… For Tadpoles

3 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: You Think We’re Just Fishing… For Tadpoles

Dear Jack,

Immediately after leaving Walden Farm on Saturday, Mommy wanted to stop by some “cute” antique shops in downtown Nolensville.

I spotted a creek behind the shops, so you and I did the guy thing and opted for the outdoor exploration adventure as opposed to looking at beautiful junk in stores.

Dear Jack: You Think We’re Just Fishing… For Tadpoles

Our original agenda was simply to find rocks and sticks to throw into the water.

However, after you realized the creek was swarming with what appeared to be tiny tadpoles, you decided to “catch a tadpole” instead.

First, you called them: “Here, tadpoles! Come to me!”

Then you used a stick as a fishing pole, hoping to catch a few of them. I joined you, of course.

It didn’t take long at all before you thought you caught one, and boy, were you proud!

Dear Jack: You Think We’re Just Fishing… For Tadpoles

Granted, it was just algae… as it was each time after that.

But in your mind, there was a real possibility of actually being able to catch tadpoles simply by placing a stick down into the water for just a few seconds at a time; with no bait attached.

I love your fascination with fishing. Never mind the irony in the fact our family doesn’t even eat fish or any kind of meat.

Still, it’s as if it’s ingrained in a little boy’s mind to want to go fishing with his Daddy. Likewise, I want to “go fishing” with you.

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2014/10/27/walden-farm-pumpkin-patch-family-friendly-review/

You and I could have stayed out there at the creek all day, but Mommy eventually came back from looking around at the shops; happy to see us doing “guy things.”

Our recent fishing trip has inspired me to already consider buying us a small 2-man tent to put out on the back patio of our new house once we move in.

We could be camping out by next spring!

Love,

Daddy

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2014/10/27/walden-farm-pumpkin-patch-family-friendly-review/