Dear Holly: The $2.99 Chocolate Puppy Cake from Kroger

1 year, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week, our family managed to make it through all of the 1st season of Nailed It! on Netflix. I had suggested your brother check out the show, after I had spent the week before watching both seasons of Master of None, where the main character who is an aspiring actor, has to settle for being the host of a show called Clash of the Cupcakes.

And yes, Nailed It! was every bit as silly as I imagined it to be, based on the fictional concept of Clash of the Cupcakes and the Internet meme. And yes, your brother genuinely loved the cake competition show as much as I knew he would.

Last weekend, your brother announced to me in the car, as I was taking him hiking while you were home with Mommy:

“Hey Daddy… Mommy said we could look at cakes at Kroger and maybe get one.”

So after our hike, I let Jack look at cakes. To my amazement, there was a chocolate puppy cake for only $2.99. I had no issues paying so little money for a cake so cool; a cake I knew that both you and your brother would enjoy.

As we walked in the door, Jack and I both announced to you,

“Holly, we brought home a puppy cake!”

Your response: “Puppy? Puppy. Puppy!

So after we ate our veggie soup that Mommy had cooking on the crock pot, Mommy cut the puppy cake for dessert for you and your brother.

Jack immediately dived in, as if it were his birthday. (In reality, it’s your birthday and mine that are coming up.)

To my surprise though, you didn’t really care about eating the cake. You just wanted to play with the plastic cover the cake came in.

You had a great time walking around the kitchen and living room with it on your face like a mask. Then you enjoyed stomping on it in the likeness of Justin Timberlake smashing the disco ball on one of his album covers.

Your brother loved the cake. You loved the container it came in. Classic.



Dear Holly: You are Pulling Yourself Up on Furniture/Puppy Mode

8 months.

Dear Holly: You are Pulling Yourself Up on Furniture/Puppy Mode

Dear Holly,

You are officially in puppy mode. That’s right- with your newfound curiosity now that you’ve learned to crawl, having you around the house is like having a cute little puppy among us.

I’ll be on the floor, playing with you, and then you’ll suddenly start crawling to the kitchen to follow Mommy around as she prepares dinner. You often just like to hang out near her feet…. like a puppy. I always warn her you’re there so she doesn’t step on you.

But right now your favorite thing to do is to crawl over to something you can use to pull yourself up on. You are always so proud of yourself once you are standing up. I can tell that you instinctively know what a big accomplishment it is!

It’s exciting to see how you’re just naturally wired to tackle whatever the next physical challenge is. It’s not like I’m reading articles online to help prepare you for the upcoming stage.

Instead, you just go ahead and get started on it; like it’s no big deal. I love your initiative!

Dear Holly: You are Pulling Yourself Up on Furniture/Puppy Mode

You only recently learned to crawl. It didn’t take long at all before you decided you were capable of more. Now here we are on the pulling up stage, which will lead to the standing up stage, and then the walking stage.

No, I’m not rushing you along in the process of growing up. But… I do admit, I’m looking forward to you turning 1 year old in April. By then, I predict you’ll reach a comfortable balance of increased physical mobility and a dependence more on solid foods (which means we get to save all that money we’ve been spending on formula- not to mention, having to clean all those bottles!), but you’ll still be in baby mode.

Or puppy mode…

Love, Daddy

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

4 years.

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

Dear Jack,

This past weekend, immediately following your 4th birthday party on Saturday, we led my side of the family in a caravan (your Nonna and Papa, along with Aunt Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousin Calla) to see the progress on our new house we’re building.

As we drove near our cul-de-sac, Mommy yelled with excitement, “It’s blue!”

We had learned last week that the siding is actually made out of wood, and that it would be painted eventually. Well, the painting has definitely began.

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

Mommy was also very happy to see that our marble countertops are in; as well as the kitchen’s bar.

I was particularly happy to see that our garage doors are now in, along with automatic garage door openers; considering as long as Mommy and I have been married and lived in our townhome (over 6 years), we’ve never had a garage for our cars.

Dear Jack: Our Blue House Is Being Painted/Our Last Week In Our Townhome

Each time we visit our new house, I become even more satisfied with our decision to buy it, and therefore, to move out of our townhome.

Which, speaking of…

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

This apparently is our last week to live in our townhome! Mommy and I bought it brand-new in 2008, when we got married, but now it’s time to move out and move on.

Last night as I was saying goodnight to you, at your sleeping bag on top of a foam mat, I explained to you, “Jack, this is our last week to sleep and live in this house, because we’re going to be moving into the new one in January, in a couple months.”

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

At this point, other than mats to sleep on, in addition to enough food and clothing to by this week, our house is empty.

Papa helped Mommy and I move the rest of it to the storage facility over the weekend. Mommy had to secretly pack up two of your favorite stuffed animals in a box: Puppa the puppy and Cheaty the cheetah.

I had the opportunity to see if I could fit in the backseat of the 2014 Scion FR-S that I was reviewing for your birthday week. (I could.)

2014 Scion FR-S back seat

This coming weekend we’ll move our few remaining items in our personal vehicles to our friends’ house where we will be staying until January when our new house is ready.

Exciting times…



2014 Scion FR-S back seat

dad from day one: Funny Faces and Baby Dreams

Week 1.

If you’re not good at winning staring contests, you should try being in one with an infant.  It’s pretty easy to win because there are no “overawareness” issues.  Baby Jack is dedicated to the game; I’ll give him that.  But typically I win because he either smiles or sneezes.  There’s nothing like staring at a baby’s face.  It’s amazing how long you can do it before you realize you’ve been doing it that long.

Of all the funny faces he currently makes, my favorite one is when raises his eyebrows like wants to be part of the 1950’s Rat Pack.  There’s also the “Elvis sneer”, the “surprised Dana Carvey”, the “Paul McCartney”, the “ancient Chinese man”, the “drowsy poet”, and the “Mac the alien” (a reference to a mostly forgotten E.T. copycat movie called Mac and Me.)

He often slips in and out of sleep when I stare at him.  I try to imagine what he is dreaming about, as his face tells the seemingly same story every time.  The dream starts out with Baby Jack petting a friendly puppy (Jack always starts his dreams smiling).  Then a mean dog comes along and scares Jack and the friendly puppy (that’s when Jack has a worried look on his face).  Lastly, the dream ends with him drinking milk or pooping (as he either starts “rooting” or grunting, accordingly).  What else would a baby dream about anyway?

“I wanna wake you from your dream.  I wanna know just who you’re talking to when you’re singing in your sleep.  I wanna find out what it means.  I’ve got marbles in my mouth.  Thousand words I wanna say but it’s impossible to spit ’em out.”

-Guster, “Do You Love Me?”

dad from day one: One More Month to Go

Thirty-five weeks.

Jack’s due date is November 11th, so it’s pretty likely that within the next thirty days, he will be born.  I am past the stage of being nervous, afraid, or underprepared (because I’ve accepted the fact that no first time parent can truly be prepared enough). Instead, I am completely excited and feeling very positive about it all.  A few nights ago I had a dream that Jack was a few months old and I was holding him, feeling his face against mine, and even though it was a dream, it was a feeling that I have never experienced before.  But it’s a feeling that I know I will be experiencing soon in real life.

This late into the pregnancy, it feels more like our baby is actually born and less that my wife is still pregnant.  We’re so close to meeting him.  I’m already feeling a hint of this great desire to do anything I have to in order to make sure he’s taken care of.  Like an innocent puppy that winds up on my doorstep with sad eyes that say, “Please take care of me…”  Except he’s a human being and I had a part in bringing him into this world.

I look forward to caring for him with my life.  I don’t care about having to change diapers, losing sleep, and just flat-out transforming the normalcy of my life to be a dad.  I want this little boy.  And for the record, he’s got some cool shoes waiting for him out here in the real world.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: