Dear Holly: Your Idea to Make Pumpkin Pie with Nonna

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

Knowing that Nonna and Papa would be coming up to take care of you while Mommy and I were away in Colorado, you put in your requests ahead of time:

“I want to make pumpkin pie with Nonna.”

So I let her know to bring the supplies up from Alabama.

You loved getting to make the pie while we were gone.

It was ready, perfectly in time for our return.

For the record, the pumpkin pie was exceptionally delicious!

And to think, this all happened because of your idea!

You thought of it all yourself. It was a plan that came together!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

6 years old.

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

Dear Jack,

With your birthday and Papa’s birthday only being 5 days apart, we were happy to have Nonna and Papa up for the weekend; as we were able to celebrate both birthdays together.

You specifically asked for Nonna to make and bring some pumpkin pie. Friday was Papa’s actual birthday, so we had the pie instead of birthday cake. I’m glad you made that request because we all loved it!

After we had already eaten the “birthday pumpkin pie” and I was cleaning up, I heard Nonna say, “Jack turns 6 and Papa turns 60!”

I immediately attempted to correct her: “No, Papa is only 59…”

But then I remembered: A year ago I wrote a special blog post about Papa turning 59. Nonna was right!

So after spending Friday evening celebrating Papa’s 59th birthday, I realized we were actually celebrating his 60th birthday instead… What a major milestone birthday to get wrong!

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

On Sunday after church, we all went to Grecian Pizzeria for lunch. Despite having lived in Spring Hill now for nearly 2 years, we only recently tried it out. I wish we would have sooner!

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

It is an ideal place for our family to eat. It is very vegan-friendly and vegetarian friendly; which is vital to our family.

So now we don’t have to drive 30 minutes away to Mellow Mushroom or Whole Foods when we want to go somewhere fun for dinner.

You thought it was pretty cool that the waitress displayed your drawing on their wall.

You thought it was pretty cool that the waitress displayed your drawing on their wall.

During our lunch there, I realized this: Papa is 60 years old, you are 6 years old, and Holly is 6 months old. While that is pretty cool, I’m not sure I feel so confident about three 6’s…

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

To officially celebrate your 6th birthday, we actually spent the whole day Saturday at Opry Mills Mall in Nashville. But since I took so many pictures of the event, you’ll have to give me about another week to get that all arranged…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Celebrating Your 6th Birthday and Papa’s 60th Birthday with Pumpkin Pie and Greek Food

 @GrecianPizzeria

Holiday Dinners are a Chinese Buffet in Disguise

In the final scene of the 1983 classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story, Ralphie’s family is forced to have their Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant because their neighbors’ dogs ate the turkey. Today I had my first holiday dinner of the season. I reminded myself how miserable I would be (like with every other holiday feast) if I ate too much.

For the first time ever, I was successful. I controlled myself. I didn’t feel like I had been given a tranquilizer dart after the meal.

But even with the careful planning of portion control, it’s easy to eat too much and feel groggy the rest of the day. I discovered why today. Holiday dinner are a Chinese buffet, in disguise. All the major elements are there:

Meat that has little flavor (turkey). Cooked vegetables that are saturated in butter and often intertwined with pork (green beans). Plenty of carbs (mashed potatoes, hash brown casserole, macaroni and cheese, and of course, dressing). And a sugary dessert (carrot cake, pumpkin pie, egg nog). All set up on two big folding tables. Come-and-go-as-you-please-there’s-plenty-more style.

Really, eating Chinese food for the holidays isn’t much different than what we do anyway. Except there are no labels required to inform us of exactly which meat is being served. Because that’s never a good thing.