Dear Holly: Mommy’s Now in Her 3rd Trimester/We’ve Been in our New House a Year

Dear Holly: Mommy’s Now in Her 3rd Trimester/We’ve Been in our New House a Year

28 weeks.

Dear Holly,

Yesterday evening as Mommy was preparing dinner, she pointed out that you were tucked all the way over to her right side.

It was undeniable. There was no doubt her tummy was lopsided.

She explained to me when she was pregnant with your brother Jack nearly 6 years ago, he was always sitting on her ribs; way up high.

But you, you’re so low; that’s not a problem with you.

As of today, Mommy is officially in her 3rd trimester with you. She is 66% through her pregnancy with you. In less than 3 months, less than 90 days, you should be here.

It’s funny to think that a year ago this week, our family moved into our new house.

Life is at such a great pace now: We live way back in the suburbs. We have a garage. We live in a cul-de-sac near a park.

Those are things I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate. Being able to work our way of debt a few years ago and save up for the down payment on our house was totally worth the discipline and sacrifice.

We knew at the time when we moved in our new house, that at some point in the next few years, we might have another child.

But just 6 months into life in our new home with 4 bedrooms, something just finally clicked:

One of those rooms is for another child.

And so of course now, that guest room has now been converted into your nursery and bedroom.

I’ve mentioned before how supposedly age 34 is the best year of your life. That’s how old Mommy and I both are.

We are so happy to know that you are on your way. You are wanted. You will be loved.

I can’t guarantee that you will be born into the most normal of families, but I can tell you this: We’re going to have a lot of fun!

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: 6 Months of Living in Our New House

4 years, 8 months.

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Dear Jack,

As they say… time flies when you’re having fun.

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That must be why it definitely doesn’t feel like we’ve been living in our new house for 6 months.

A week ago made 6 months that we began moving in our stuff and began sleeping there; but it took a solid week after that before it felt like we truly living there and not simply still moving in.

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As of today, I wanted to document what our house looked like at this point in history; so I walked around room to room, taking pictures.

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One of my proudest decisions in staging our house is that we purposely don’t have a TV downstairs in the living room. It’s important to me that conversation is not stolen in our house.

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If I could come up with a theme for our house, it would be this: Quality time.

That’s so important. We have to make the most of our time together despite our busy schedules as individuals.

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As you read this years from now, I want you to hear me say this once again:

We worked very hard to get into this house.

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It required paying off all our debts (including cars and student loans), then living by an extremely strict budget (including no smart phones), in order to start saving for the down payment on our house.

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Something that was very important to Mommy and me was to make sure we raise you (as well as any future siblings) in a good school system. To do that, we had to move to the “right” county: Williamson.

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We pour our lives into you. We want the best for you. Being able to live in this house makes me feel like our family is exactly where we need to be.

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Living in this house has truly made us happy, content, and at peace. Our quality of life has never been better.

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But again, this wasn’t handed to us.

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And it’s not simply about how much money you make, as much as it is how you manage the money you do make. We worked very hard to get here… and still do.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: You, As Green Meanie, Jr.

4 years, 8 months.

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Dear Jack,

This week on our YouTube channel we launched an official new program, The Green Meanie Show.

We will be resuming Jack-Man next weekend with a new webisode, #18, since your preschool has asked me to film another episode there. I don’t mind at all, since our last Jack-Man filmed there was the most popular one we’ve ever done; not to mention, the fast-growing one we’ve done, if that makes sense.

In other words, it hit 100 views in less than 24 hours.

But in the meantime, I’m creating some quicker content with my new spin-off; featuring Green Meanie as the host, with you playing his son, Green Meanie, Jr.

The Green Meanie Show contains its own original theme song and opening montage. Here are the lyrics:

“He is green, he is mean, he is Green Meanie the villain

He makes money from anyone and everyone who drinks his soda

But you should know that he tells his secrets

On The Green Meanie Show”

So far, we’ve done a Lego unboxing video together…

And I made a brief, educational video where Green Meanie explains the 3 “right ways” to eat a banana:

  1. Eat it brown (it contains more nutrients as it begins to ferment).
  2. Open it from the bottom, which helps prevent smashing it.
  3. Mix it smoothies and oatmeal to prevent “banana boredom.”

Then last night, after we made our 2nd Lego unboxing video (which I haven’t published yet), I let the camera roll as you declared a “pants party”.

You had a lot of fun!

I’ve got a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan coming up soon. Scion (a division of Toyota) is sending me (or is it Green Meanie?) there to preview their newest car models.

Also, next week makes 6 months since we’ve lived in our new house. I guess I better put together something for that, featuring pictures of our house now that we’re definitely completely settled in.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Dear Jack,

Well, hopefully last week marked the last of the snow for winter…

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

It definitely marked the week in which we watched Pee-wee’s Big Adventure two times within 24 hours.

You confidently expressed to me you liked it better than Big Top Pee-wee, which we watched twice within 24 hours two weeks ago. Even though the scary clown scene technically was inappropriate for you to see in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, only Mommy covered her eyes.

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

I have to admit, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is a solid movie. Here’s a little bit of trivia: I was 4 years old when it came out in 1985; the same age you are now.

We also took a quick family drive to Rooster Tails, a cool retro style furniture store we’ve bought from before. You helped us look for a coffee table for our living room and a bookcase for our office.

Cinnamon

One of the highlights from this past week was when you decided you wanted to “make milk” for our family to drink over the weekend.

Over the course of two days, you would sit up on the counter with a mixing bowl, bumming spare ingredients off of Mommy and me, so you could add them into your bowl of water.

It’s all a blur, but I remember there being cranberry juice, oregano, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and chia seeds in it; among other random items we had in our kitchen. Just a pinch of each led to a big bowl of chucky, brownish gray water that you were so proud to stir up.

For dinner Sunday night, you decided it was time for all us to try your new concoction.

Cinnamon

What you didn’t realize was that Mommy poured some of your chocolate almond milk into your cup instead of what you made, just sprinkling in some cinnamon.

As predicted, you were skeptical to take the first sip. So Mommy and I gladly did. You were curious by how authentically we seemed to be enjoying your “homemade” milk.

You took a baby sip… then a bigger one.

Mommy! Daddy! That tastes good! It tastes like cinnamon… and chocolate!” you proclaimed.

One day you’ll read this letter and realize why.

Love,

Daddy

Cinnamon

Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

Dear Jack,

The way Mommy and I are wired, we have to always have some big project or plan or scheme we are working towards. It’s always been that way with us.

On the surface, there’s a decent chance our family appears to be pretty laid back. In reality, I think it’s that we’re always busy and moving because we aren’t that good at… whatever the opposite of that is.

So I have to admit, it has felt a little strange this week, not having some certain big challenge ahead of us.

We worked our way out of debt for the first 5 years of our (almost) 7 years of marriage (while Mommy earned her Master’s degree), then saved up for this house, then moved into it, and now here we are…

So now what?

Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

I suppose we should simply enjoy our lives now. It’s just not that easy for us.

No, the answer is not simply having another child. Our current state of restlessness is not based on us wanting to grow our family. It’s an option to consider for the near future, as I can appreciate not having two kids in preschool at the same time; but just not something we’re focused on right now.

I think the reality of it is that we need to learn how to enjoy taking it easy. It’s somewhat unnatural for us, actually.

It’s time to start focusing on spending time with friends, learning new songs on the guitar, and planning some new road trips for our family- hopefully “car reviewing season” will be beginning soon.

This is, in essence, a season of the Sabbath for us. Sometimes you really do have to just slow down and appreciate the good things in life.

I’m in culture shock right now. Here’s to trying to just lay low for a while… until that new project presents itself, which I’m sure it will.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The 1st Month Of Living In Our New House

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

Dear Jack,

It was January 29th, more than 5 weeks ago, that we closed on our new house and began moving our stuff in. The next day, we slept in our new house for the first time.

Dear Jack: The 1st Month Of Living In Our New House

I didn’t plan to start chronicling each week in our new house the way I’ve done with my letters to you for the past (nearly) 5 years, but it’s just turned out that way (since these posts about our new house have proven to remain very popular among readers).

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

At this point, we’re obviously settled in our new life, in our new house. Other than finishing up hanging some wall decorations, and waiting on our new sofa to arrive next Saturday, we’re pretty much past the moving in stage.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

This past Saturday, it was finally warm enough outside for you and me to go out and play together for the first time in our cul-de-sac. For the past couple of weeks since the big freeze, you had been asking to go play where the neighbors’ remaining snowman is on the sidewalk.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

You have collected a decent number of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that served as great snowplows. In fact, one of them even buried St. Peter in the snow! Fortunately, a dinosaur helped save him, as the shark from Finding Nemo watched from above.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

From there, we finally got to walk along the sidewalk trail along the woods, which circles around to our cul-de-sac.

We were able to walk along a treacherous board where the sidewalk ended…

Dear Jack: Our 1st Month In Our New House

Sit on a broken tree, throw huge rocks…

We were able to walk along a treacherous board where the sidewalk ended...

And even go “fishing”…

Before we headed back to our house, you made a “Mintacinno” out of some things you found on the ground as we walked together.

We were able to walk along a treacherous board where the sidewalk ended...

It’s still currently melting on our front porch right now.

I should also point out this was the week in history in which you obtained “Blueberry”, a new stuffed animal that Mommy and I let you get after your marble set we got you for Christmas got broken in the move.

We were able to walk along a treacherous board where the sidewalk ended...

Blueberry means a lot to you; it’s quite evident. I was surprised you actually let me name your new bear.

It’s funny because actually Blueberry it’s one of those “My First Bears,” designed for newborns.

Hi Nick!  Here are some photos of Jack working on his wood working!   He was so proud of himself being able to use a real hammer and nails. He was very adamant about building a house. Even though he hit his finger with the hammer, he was brave and kept going (with a little help from myself) He used paint to decorate his building. He also made an "octopus monster" with styrofoam.    -Aimee

You don’t see it that way.

As for your new school, Rainbow Child Care Center, things couldn’t be better. Here’s a note I got from your teacher this week:

Hi Nick!

Here are some photos of Jack working on his wood working! He was so proud of himself being able to use a real hammer and nails. He was very adamant about building a house. Even though he hit his finger with the hammer, he was brave and kept going (with a little help from myself). He used paint to decorate his building.He also made an “octopus monster” with Styrofoam.
-Ms. Aimee

Hi Nick!  Here are some photos of Jack working on his wood working!   He was so proud of himself being able to use a real hammer and nails. He was very adamant about building a house. Even though he hit his finger with the hammer, he was brave and kept going (with a little help from myself) He used paint to decorate his building. He also made an "octopus monster" with styrofoam.    -Aimee

It’s been a great first month! This move has been a great thing for us. New house, new school, and a new version of life.

And, thanks to your teacher Ms. Aimee letting us know about it, we ended up buying tickets for the Repticon (reptile exhibition) in Franklin, TN next weekend!

Oh yes, pictures will follow…

Love,

Daddy

Hi Nick!  Here are some photos of Jack working on his wood working!   He was so proud of himself being able to use a real hammer and nails. He was very adamant about building a house. Even though he hit his finger with the hammer, he was brave and kept going (with a little help from myself) He used paint to decorate his building. He also made an "octopus monster" with styrofoam.    -Aimee

Dear Jack: The 4th Week Of Living In Our New House

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Dear Jack,

We’re just about fully moved in by now. We’re still waiting on our living room couch, though. It’s been delayed a total of 7 weeks now, due to it being such a popular piece of furniture. Actually, it was out of stock the day we bought it. Today I was able to convince the store to ship to us for free. It worked!

Still have to wait another month for it to get here, though.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

In the meantime, the matching chair has been waiting in our living room for its counterpart. In fact, Mommy did a really cool job of having your “growing up” pictures. She created an abstract heart shape. It looks really neat.

Mommy didn’t even mean to; it just ended up that way. I think it’s very appropriate, though. In the middle is a sign that reads, “All because two people fell in love.”

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

With it is very true, it’s also reference to a Brad Paisley song from the first CD Mommy ever bought me.

This has been the week of getting all of photo frames off the floor and onto the walls. Therefore, this is the first week we’ve been in our new house where you’ve actually been able to run around like a little boy is supposed to do.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

It wasn’t a surprise to me that you insisted on taking me upstairs so I could help you dress up in your superhero costume that your friend Madison got you for your birthday.

We snuck down stairs so you could surprise Mommy, who was in the middle of making dinner.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

You darted from the living room to the kitchen no less than 17 times before dinner time.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Afterwards, we made vegan cookies for the first time in our new house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Meanwhile at your new school, Rainbow Child Care Center, your teacher Ms. Aimee bought a new gecko!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Here’s what she told me about your interactions with it this week:

Jack wanted to make a boat out of cardboard. He worked very hard to cut different shapes out of the cardboard, tape, and construct his boat. He also got to hold our new Crested Gecko! He giggled as the gecko climbed up due to his Velcro like feet. Jack is an absolute joy having in my class. I’m excited to see how he grows throughout the year!

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

Our new life is quite enjoyable. Mommy and I were just talking last night about what an uphill journey the past couple of years have been for us. We were new to being parents, while working hard to get out of debt and find a bigger house.

Dear Jack: Our 4th Week In Our New House

We’re there now. Now we can take a minute to breathe… and focus our attention other things we have formerly had to put on the backburner.

In fact, I’m working on something right now that, if it turns out, could be really good for our family. We’ll see how that works out, in a few weeks or months…

Love,

Daddy