Dear Jack: You Finally Saved (and Spent) 100 Loot at Your School

7 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I assume it’s the norm these days for elementary schools to have some sort of faux-money merit system for their students. You often come home from school saying, “I earned some loot today!”

Based on last year in Kindergarten, as you spent it pretty much the moment you earned it, I figured you were doing the same this year; immediately spending it on erasers or bouncy balls or something.

But when you came home from school this Tuesday, you immediately announced to Mommy and me:
“I’ve got 100 loot now!”

You went on to explain there is a stuffed animal you were going to spend it on at the school store the next day.

And that’s exactly what you did.

Apparently, it’s not so common for most of the students in your class to save up 100 or more loot. But you did it!

So things were extra special when you were able to show us your new prize, and then on the same day, Mommy happened to receive some Pokemon-themed gifts from a co-worker who recently traveled to Japan.

You made it sound like that blue dog was the most expense thing you cared about in the school store. Now that you have obtained it, and you still have a few more months left of 1st grade, I wonder what will be the tangible motivation for saving up more loot.

Of course, the fundamental psychological part of this story is not that you got earned a stuffed animal at your school.

Instead, it’s that at your school, you have done a consistently great job of behaving and getting your work done.

The blue dog reinforces that fact. The blue dog serves as a trophy for you being a good citizen in your class.

I am very proud of you.



What Kind of Parental Stereotype are You? (5 Ways I’m Not a “Normal” Dad)

What Kind of Parental Stereotype are You? (5 Ways I’m Not a “Normal” Dad)

This past weekend I took my dad and my son to see Star Trek Beyond. It was a really fun and exciting movie to us to see together.

While I was there at the theater, I noticed the promotional posters for the R-rated Bad Moms. I found them to be interesting, as they stereotyped several types of “bad” moms.

What Kind of Parental Stereotype are You? (5 Ways I’m Not a “Normal” Dad)

They included… It got me thinking, “How would I be stereotyped as parent, by the outside world?”

What Kind of Parental Stereotype are You? (5 Ways I’m Not a “Normal” Dad)

For me, it’s simple: I would likely be “The Token Quirky Daddy Blogger.”

In so many ways, I live on the fringes of what our American pop culture deems as normal for a dad; as my wife and I raise our Kindergartner son and 3 month-old daughter:

  1. I’m not a sports fan. (However, I’m very active in exploring and hiking with my son.)

2. I don’t personally believe in spanking as an effective method of discipline.

3. I’m a vegan who raises my children as vegetarians.

4. I’m a faithful Dave Ramsey follower, who will surely ultimately brainwash my kids accordingly.

5. I get free stuff from companies by blogging about their products.

While that last one may not seem so strange, I have to recognize that the average dad out there can’t just inform major car companies he’s going on a road trip and be sent a brand-new car for that week with a full tank of gas to drive to the family events he’s been given complimentary passes to because he will also be promoting them on his blog as well.

So therefore, I accept my label: I’m the token quirky daddy blogger.

What Kind of Fun Parental Stereotype are You? (5 Ways I’m Not a “Normal” Dad)

If you ever see me out in public with my family, you’ll see a $600 camera looped around my wrist, as I take pictures of my own family like I’m the paparazzi.

That’s simply what’s normal for me. I’ll never be able to go on vacation, or even to Whole Foods Market, without taking an array of photos, assuming a blog post will develop out of the event.

So that’s my fun parental stereotype, what’s yours?

Dear Holly: Your Newest Sonogram Pictures

33 weeks.

Dear Holly: Your Newest Sonogram Pictures

Dear Holly,

This week our family went to Mommy’s newest check-up at Vanderbilt; even Grandma got to go with us because she is in town right now from California.

To our surprise, one of the newest sonogram pictures was 3-D. Your brother Jack immediately responded as we all saw the picture for the first time, up on the giant TV monitor:

“That picture is creepy. It’s an old rock man.”

While it’s always great to see new pictures of you, the most important thing is that the technician confirmed you are looking real good. In other words, you are a healthy baby.

We have prayed every night as a family for your health. So we didn’t take it for granted to hear that you are doing well.

On a lighter note, the technician explained to us that your butt is up high at the “top” of Mommy’s baby bump; which explains why Mommy keeps getting poked in her right side, that’s your elbows and hands.

Plus, she confirmed you are (still) a girl. I admit that Mommy and I had doubts in the backs of our minds that we might be that family who learned they were actually having the other gender baby.

But no, we won’t have to be repainting the room or changing out your wardrobe. We specifically asked the technician, and she officially confirmed, “Yep, it’s still a girl inside there.”

Dear Holly: Your Newest Sonogram Pictures

Speaking of your bedroom, with Grandma in town, your room is a little fuller.

There is now a really cool lamp that perfectly matches the hair ribbon holder, which also matches the bird decals on the walls.

And I obviously am proud of the outfit Mommy picked out for you this week: Daddy’s Sweetheart.

We now officially can say you will be born next month. April 21st is just 7 weeks away.



Dear Holly: Your Newest Sonogram Pictures

Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

Dear Jack,

I recently realized that of all people, I didn’t own an official holiday sweater. Seriously, I’m the epitome of dads who should own one!

A few days ago at work, my friend Sam walked in wearing a holiday sweater featuring two reindeer facing each other, with a giant snowflake in between them.

That’s the moment I became aware of my sweaterless condition.

Conveniently, the same day I received a gift card for Target. I was there for probably 30 minutes, not really impressed by any of their holiday sweaters; either too expensive or just not enough character.  But right as I officially gave up, I saw it…

A Captain America sweater! Seriously, how awesome is that?!

It couldn’t be more perfect.

Turns out, today at your school, KinderCare, it was “holiday sweater day.” So you got to wear your grumbly monster sweater, while I wore my new one as well.

Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

So now you and I are both set when it comes to owning that special token holiday sweater. Both of ours are funny, masculine, and awesome… to represent us, right?

I feel that little stories like these really help represent my pride as your dad. I love it that you enjoy making goofy selfies with me.

It’s so much fun to celebrate in stuff like this together with you. I keep reminding you that a year from now, the first of the new Star Wars movies will be in theatres and we’ll get to see it together. What a perfect time to be a little boy!

You’ve already expressed interest in Yoda.

And I think daily about how next summer, we get to camp out in the backyard of a new house, that we are scheduled to close on January 29th.

I like being your Daddy.



Readers’ Expectations 5: Hemp George, Mexican Mollies, and Fat Babies with Mullets

What would provoke anyone to visit Scenic Route Snapshots, out of the millions of websites out there?  I like knowing the answer to the question, just as you do.  Here is the fifth installment of phrases that people typed into Google and other search engines to find this site:

“fat babies eating”- I thought it was safe to assume that most babies are fat anyways.  Is this from a hopeful parent wanting their baby to grow up to be a professional competitive eater?  That Japanese guy wins every year, but 2nd place isn’t a bad goal to aim for.  Good luck on that.  Mazel tov.

“van gogh starry night for kids”- Yes, because Van Gogh’s original painting of Starry Night contained a lot of nudity and violence, but the new Disney-endorsed version is safe for the whole family.

“What does being a Rubik’s Cube in a dream mean?”- One of two things.  A) You are feeling manipulated by the people in your life- like they are trying to “figure you out”.  2) It’s not a dream at all.  You’re currently on an LSD trip.

“hemp George”- Yes, President George Washington was indeed a hemp farmer.  But “Hemp George” sounds like a totally different guy altogether.  But hey, when you can’t track down Hemp George, there’s the next best thing- Sativa Steve.

“mullet baby ugly”- I thought all babies are beautiful.  And besides, a mullet doesn’t automatically make someone ugly.  Flashback to the ‘80’s, prime examples: MacGyver and Bono.

“singleness a gift I do not want”- This one is funny not because the searcher typed in something weird to find me, but because I happened to title that post exactly in the terminology he or she was thinking.  Takes one to know one: Singleness; The Gift No One Really Wants

“male mexican mollies mustache”– Definitely one of the most random searches ever to get to my website.  Mollies are a type of fish that unlike Catfish, do not have any physical features that resemble a mustache.  The four words “male”, “Mexican”, “mollies”, and “mustache” have nothing to do with each other.  And strangest of all, whoever searched that did so 7 times that day.

So that means 7 hits on my counter happened because someone searched something extremely random, not once, twice, or even thrice, but 7 times.  I am picturing a mustachioed Mexican man eating fish, and he’s very, very happy about it.