Dear Holly: Messy Hair, You Don’t Care

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

There’s a popular saying these days for girls: “Messy hair, don’t care.”

Since we got our Jeep at the beginning of this summer, you’ve been somewhat conditioned to adopt this motto.

Because when you’re riding in the backseat of a Jeep Wrangler when the top is off (something I’ve yet to do), your hair is basically constantly blowing the entire time.

I think this picture of you illustrates this pretty well. You have messy hair, but you don’t care.

You are happy.

Granted, you have a funny habit of falling asleep every time we drive with the top off!

Love,

Daddy

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary: A Muddy Jeep Wrangler Ride and a Quaint Meal Out in My Hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama

After staying overnight as a family at the Hilton, I walked across the parking lot to work Friday morning; which was our actual 11th wedding anniversary. Then once I put in my 8 hours, we drove a quick 3 hours to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend our anniversary weekend.

Quite predictably, we went out Saturday morning to go looking for trouble in the Jeep, which we found a little too easily.

With the top off, we embarked on an unmarked dirt road full of questionable mud puddles. I didn’t consider that the mud will inevitably end up getting slung off the tires and inside the Jeep.

I was especially proud of the blob of mud that landed on the dashboard, right next to my hand on the steering wheel. My plan was to keep it there pretty much permanently, but with the hot July sun, it didn’t take too long to dry, harden, and fall off after a few more bumps in the Jeep.

That evening, my wife and I had the rare privilege of having free babysitters (family, of course!) to watch and feed our kids while we disappeared for a solid four hours.

My sister had suggested a mom-and-pop Mediterranean place called Fontana’s. It was exactly what we were looking for, but didn’t realize existed. It was the epitome of the word quaint; and therefore it was perfect.

I am already looking forward to going back there next weekend when we are back in town for my 20th high school reunion, which will be held just down the street from the restaurant.

So there you go. That’s the best way for a husband and wife to spend their 11th wedding anniversary.

Maybe one day we’ll go somewhere without the kids. But honestly, as long as the kids are young, we might as well let them have some fun too!

Dear Jack: You Get to Be the Boy in the Back Seat of a Jeep with the Top Off

8 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Every father wants his son to be able to have an amazing, adventurous childhood that he will be able to think back on with gratitude.

I am aware that I am helping to create your childhood; for better or worse.

Undeniably, since we got the Jeep Wrangler about a month and a half ago, it has been obvious you have been having a good time in it.

Yes, it’s true that the Jeep is a toy for me. But it’s a toy that I can to share with you.

You get to be the boy in the back seat of a Jeep with the top off.

I’m pretty sure that leads to a childhood you will appreciate now while you’re still a kid, and for the rest of your life as an adult.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Fell Asleep in the Back Seat of the Jeep with the Top Off!

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

I sort of envy your ability to fall asleep anywhere, at anytime, in any environment.

As for me, I have to mentally know that I have no pending responsibilities for the rest of the day. Once I’m asleep, I want to stay asleep until the sun comes back up.

But you recently proved that after an hour of a fun Jeep ride alongside Little River Canyon, you need a little nap to recharge for any upcoming fun.

So to my surprise, you feel asleep in the back seat of my Jeep Wrangler: with the top off, the wind blowing, and the sun shining down on you.

Good thing Mommy put sunscreen on you beforehand!

Love,

Daddy

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport to the Nashville Zoo with the Kids

It is exactly 30 miles from our garage to the Nashville Zoo; which really isn’t bad for such a great source of family entertainment.

Somehow though, it’s been a solid two years since our family has journeyed down there.

But as I’ve mentioned before, now that we have a Jeep Wrangler as our family weekend vehicle, suddenly anywhere we go is not only more exciting, but also worth the journey.

Despite being an SUV, the JK series of the Jeep Wrangler doesn’t have much storage capacity. However, I was still have to squeeze in the double stroller in the back, which made things much easier for my wife and I to shuttle the kids across the Nashville Zoo. It takes a solid 3 hours of constantly moving if you want to see all the animals.

We actually started off our visit to the Nashville Zoo with my son and and my wife (Jack and Jill) finally getting to try out the Soaring Eagle.

Check out the quick video I made of their ride…

As the population of Nashville continues to rapidly grow, so does the number of exhibits at the Nashville Zoo. For example, I don’t remember there being rhinos the last time we were there…

But as you can see from these pictures from this weekend…

There was a lot to see and do…

And we were so exhausted, Mommy and Daddy took a nap when we got home…

Even if our kids didn’t.

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport in 4 Wheel Drive: Crossing Little River at Billy’s Ford in Fort Payne, AL

Back in the summer of 1991, when I was 10 years old, our family drove out in the middle of the woods in our 1985 Bronco II. My dad was able to test out the 4 wheel drive capabilities of our family vehicle.

Last weekend, we sort of recreated that event. Instead of my daughter going, though, I had her stay home with my mom to take a nap, so that my dad could join us for the trip.

He sat in the back with my son, serving as a guide, since I had yet to take a whole drive anywhere in just 4 wheel drive in our family’s new acquired Jeep Wrangler.

What I didn’t realize going into this drive to Billy’s Ford, which is located just a couple of miles north of Little River Falls, was that I was actually going to get drive across Little River itself!

It was so much fun, that, as you can imagine, I’m eager to get back there!

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport with Top Off, Doors Off: Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama

After finishing our 16 mile ride along Little River Canyon Rim Parkway, the journey officially ended when we arrived at the bottom of the mountain at Canyon Mouth Park.

We had planned to enter the park to play in Little River. However, we learned that it now costs $15 per vehicle to enter; whereas I remember it always being free my entire life.

But finding a Plan B didn’t take long at all. We had to drive back up to the top of the mountain anyway, so we simply drive a different route to Little River Falls.

It was a perfect day to play in the river, just a few hundred feet before the river became a waterfall.

So much fun… and totally free to park!