Dear Holly: That Week You Refused to Take Off Your Brother’s Captain America Mask

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

It was a typical evening. Mommy picked you and your brother up from summer day camp. I had just driven back home from work.

As I began to help Mommy prep dinner, your brother mentioned something about taking you upstairs to see something.

Ten minutes later, I looked up to see that he had brought you back down, but decked out in his Captain America mask from his Halloween costume 3 years ago, with the accompanying shield.

You didn’t say a word, but I could tell it was important to you that I recognized that you were now Captain America.

Then during breakfast the next morning, I stepped into the kitchen to realize you were wearing the mask again; refusing to take it off while you ate breakfast.

A little bit later as Mommy was getting ready to leave for work, you added Mommy’s slippers to your superhero outfit. It somehow made sense.

This week will be remembered as the week you refused to take off your brother’s Captain America mask. And actually, your commitment to your superhero outfit actually inspired your brother:

He has been making some serious plans about making his return as an actor on YouTube again. Your brother asked me, “Hey Daddy, do you think when Holly’s a little older, we could do Jack-Man videos again?”

I instantly assured him that we could make our own superhero videos now if he wanted to.

But after he thought about it, your brother decided that instead of reprising the titular character of the 22 episode series, Jack-Man, he would like to try writing his own series.

So if this ends up really happening, I will be making the video, and he’ll be writing and starring in it. He’s also having Mommy look into buying him a lizard costume for it.

We’ll see where thing things goes. If it’s mean to be, it’ll be…



Dear Holly: Your Invisibility Cloak

18 weeks.

Dear Holly: Your Invisibility Cloak

Dear Holly,

Sunday afternoon after you woke up from your nap, I sloppily picked you up in your blanket, as it flopped over on top of your head.

I could tell you were in the mood to be walked around the house; looking out windows and at wall decorations. Obviously, the most interesting thing going on in our house is typically your brother Jack.

He was busy this time making a plane out of the couch, covered with his tent as well as blankets and pillows. He explained to me that the motor is the sword he made out of blocks.

Then he looked up and saw you: “Daddy, how can she even see with that blanket over her eyes?”

Dear Holly: Your Invisibility Cloak

I hadn’t noticed that the blanket had fallen from on top of your head into the form of a hood, leaving just enough room for you to see.

As I continued walking you around our house, I was surprised that you hadn’t made a peep; even though your diaper was wet, since you had just woken up from your nap.

But I wasn’t going to stop the show. If you were happy in your strange condition, I wouldn’t be the one to interfere.

By the time 30 minutes had passed, and you were still quiet and content under your homemade hood, I developed a likely theory:

You believed that the hood from the blanket made you invisible.

And I say this because I’ve never seen you go so long while in need of a diaper change, without making a sound. It was as if you felt if you did, it would expire your superpower of invisibility.

In the end, you went about an hour before finally choosing to expire your ability to be unseen by the rest of the world.



Dear Holly: Your Invisibility Cloak

Dear Jack: Scrubby Man to the Rescue!

5 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: Scrubby Man to the Rescue!

Dear Jack,

On Saturday afternoon before your nap, you agreed to go help Mommy get rid of all the “roly poly” bugs in the garage while I was cleaning up the kitchen from lunch and while your sister Holly was asleep.

By the time I got out to the garage, I discovered you wearing swim goggles, with a broom in your hand. When you saw me, you declared, “Scrubby Man to the rescue!”

I’m still not sure whether Scrubby Man is a super hero or just someone people hire to clean their garage. You looked like and acted like a perfect mix of the two.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, you have a Mommy who is… very into cleaning. I don’t mind that at all. I think it’s a great thing.

It’s just that on my own, I wouldn’t have thought to spend 20 minutes sweeping away all the pill bugs in the garage on a Saturday afternoon. But Mommy is wired to consider things like that.

And it’s good that she is instilling those traits in you.

I seriously love your choice to wear the goggles, though. You never know when dust or roly poly bugs might get in your eyes while sweeping.

Later that afternoon while I was out running an errand for Mommy at Kirkland’s (I wish that sentence sounded manly), you and your sister kept Mommy entertained back at the house.

You put on your famous felt mustache, which made Mommy and your sister laugh.

Now that I’ve had a smart phone for about 8 months, I admit that I still despise having one. I instead wish I could have no phone at all.

But perhaps the one thing I actually appreciate about having a smart phone is the ability to use Instagram. While I own a very nice, high quality camera to take most pictures, sometimes an unplanned Instagram speaks a thousand words that a planned picture with my $600 never could.



Dear Jack: You were Legitimately Worried People Would Think I’m Superman

5 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: You were Legitimately Worried People Would Think I’m Superman

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday, as I was paying for parking so we could attend the Nashville Boat & Sportshow, as well as Monster Jam 2016, you and Mommy stayed in the car.

(Fortunately, we lucked out, and only had to pay $13 to park. In downtown Nashville, that’s a good deal.)

I was wearing my new Superman baseball cap that you and Mommy got me for Christmas. As I was outside in the parking lot finalizing our parking space, you asked Mommy, “What if people think Daddy is Superman because he’s wearing that? What if they start crowding around him?”

This was a legitimate concern to you; that the tourists of downtown Nashville would be stopped in their tracks by the presence of the real Superman.

How would they spot me? Because of my Superman logo on my hat; as opposed to my shirt, were the Superman logo is usually displayed.

Never mind that Superman would be more like 6’4” and 220 pounds, whereas I’m 5’9” and 155 pounds.

Still, in your mind, I could pass as Superman.

If I allowed myself to, I could let that go to my head.

I also learned that same day, that you believe Batman, as well as Superman, are not simply fictional super heroes, but actually real people.

As you saw the “Batman building”, as we Nashvillians call it, you proclaimed, “Daddy, I wonder if Batman really sleeps up there on top of the Batman building?”

So in your mind, not only is Batman a real person, but he happens to live in the center of downtown Nashville.

I love the way you think. I love the thought of a version of reality in which not only legendary superheroes walk among us, but also where I, your Daddy, could possibly be mistaken for one.

But in your mind, it works. I am Superman.



Dear Jack: Our “Practice Halloween” Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family

Dear Jack,

Tonight we were able to “practice Halloween” at your preschool with all your friends. You got to be the coolest person possible: Captain America.

It was funny because all your friends who were boys were also dressed up as super heroes; but there were conveniently no duplicates: Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman…

As for Mommy and me, we took a more minimalist approach:

Mommy wore a zebra mask and I wore my cave man hat which I’ve owned for years.

(At Target, your costume only cost us $10 and Mommy’s mask was only $3.)

I like the fact you wanted to make sure your stuffed animal, Kitty, was dressed in costume too; as a baby in a onesie.

And by the way, you got a whole lot of candy! The proportion of candy-to-kids was definitely in your favor.

However, there’s a decent chance it’s going to rain on Saturday, which is Halloween.

So even though we are finally moved in to a nice suburban neighborhood where we can truly just walk door to door, instead of driving to a decent place, we may get rained out! Therefore, tonight served as our back-up plan to that happening to us.

And to set the mood for Halloween, I let you watch the 1984 Steven Spielberg movie, Gremlins; which is currently free on Amazon Prime right now.

gremlins_gizmo Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

I admit to having a few reservations in that it, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Jones, were the very first movies to be released under the PG-13 rating; as opposed to PG.

Granted, you watched Ant-Man and it was no issue for you.

I don’t regret my decision. You didn’t recognize the bad words, since to you, “stupid” is the one that concerns you the most right now.

And though parts of it are obviously creepy and violent, it was nothing you hadn’t seen on Goosebumps. I’m not saying I recommend showing Gremlins to all 5 year-olds, but I feel confident in us being able to enjoy it together.

You were on the edge on your seat the whole time, and you loved Gizmo. Not to mention, you’ve already proclaimed that when we go to Nonna and Papa’s house next time, you’ll be bringing home my old Gizmo doll.



Dear Jack: Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted” (Pregnancy Announcement Video)

4 years, 10 months.

Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted” (Pregnancy Announcement Video)

Dear Jack,

On Thursday we finally officially revealed to the world that you are going to be a big brother.

But the day before, I published Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted,” which announced that Jack-Man is going to be a big brother; it even showed the sonogram.

It is our “pregnancy announcement video.”

For over 24 hours, our video was live on YouTube, having been promoted on Facebook and Twitter as well. But it flew under the radar.

It wasn’t until Thursday morning that our news started spreading, but I embedded our video in that post so everyone see it which definitely helped bring up traffic to it.

I just loved the idea of incorporating our family’s pregnancy announcement in a video format; especially in our already established web series.

Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the help of your teacher, Ms. Aimee Cornelius, who served as a “camera woman.”

With me in full costume, it was impossible to both direct and film the webisode.

In “Tin Roof Rusted,” things pick up immediately from the point the previous webisode left off; with Vegan Bear taking the 2015 Toyota Corolla for a drive, with Jack-Man in the back seat.

Once they arrive back in the driveway, Jack-Man decides to check the mail, only to discover a mysterious letter which he can’t see to keep his hands on…

You have already asked me when we can do our next Jack-Man video that features Vegan Bear.

Even though you obviously know it’s just me in that costume, I think on some level, interacting with the character of Vegan Bear helps to sustain your imagination enough to believe you are actually friends with a real life mutant vegan bear.

But it’s just me. It’s father and son bonding via a silly costume and a silly video.

Works for us.



Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”

Last weekend Nonna and Papa visited us, as I finally was able to take Mommy to the Lady Antebellum/Hunter Hayes concert that I had bought tickets for on her birthday a month ago.

It wasn’t on my mind at all, but you asked me if we could do a new Jack-Man episode while Papa was in town.

So we did.

For months now, you and I have been scheming a Jack-Man plot in which you and I would swap roles:

You would become “Baby Green Meanie” and I would “Grown Up Jack-Man.”

Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”

I had been revising the script this whole time. Webisode 20, though it may not appear this way, it was actually one of the most complicated to webisodes we’ve ever filmed.

Perhaps that’s because we had to film it out of order to avoid so many costume changes.

But in the end, I’m very pleased with how it turned out and we had a lot of fun together making the project.

Webisode 20 premieres the concept of having background music during the monologues, instead of just the action and transition screens.

Here it is:

I’ve never mentioned this to you before, but back in college, I recorded 3 demo CDs. Since then, I’ve taken the musical breaks from those tracks to serve as the background music for my videos.

Speaking of music, “The Ole Switcheroo” features this new original song:

Panic Attack!

P-p-p-panic attack! P-p-p-panic attack!

I’m gonna give you a panic attack!

Have your chill pills ready

Keep your position steady

You’re running out of time

Running out of time

You’re getting tunnel vision

Here comes the big collision

Adrenaline freely flows

Freely flows

(note goes up, slower)

P-p-p-panic attack! P-p-p-panic attack!

I’m gonna give you…

You’re getting quite sleepy, so tired, light-headed

And coming up next, it looks like we may be buying a “new” old car…



Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”