Dear Jack: We Loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Out of the Shadows!

5 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: We Loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Out of the Shadows!

Dear Jack,

You and I have seen many action movies at the theatre in the year 2016 so far, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. But after this weekend, you and I both decided we have now seen our favorite so far- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

I’m not saying it is better than the other movies we’ve seen so far this year, but I am saying it was definitely the most enjoyable and entertaining.

This is the first time a live-action Ninja Turtles movie included the essential villains Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady; as well as Baxter Stockman. The action was non-stop. It was fun to watch the entire time, yet not cheesy at all.

Here’s an Instragram (nickshellwrites) I did of you eating your huge slice of pizza right before the show:

It is most appropriate for the kid to wolf down pizza right before we go see Ninja Turtles 2.

 It is most appropriate for the kid to wolf down pizza right  before we go see Ninja Turtles 2.

I recently officially realized that one of our traditional father and son activities is to watch action movies together. It was a couple of months ago when we were watching Jurassic World together that I put that together. Then conveniently, a few weeks later, Jurassic Park (as well as its sequels) showed up on Netflix. That was convenient.

Mommy calls the movies we watch “boy movies.”

She understands that you are wired for adventure and that it’s good for just you and me (“the boys”) to disappear for a few hours and see an action/superhero/dinosaur/sci-fi movie together.

Of course when you and I go to see a movie, we make an event out of it. We are not casually about it at all.

I typically buy our tickets a day in advance, then the next day, we show up at least an hour before the movie begins. It’s vital to get the perfect seats, so therefore we are the first to arrive to have the ability to choose whatever seats we want.

Plus, we always stay until all the credits are over, to make sure we don’t miss any hidden scenes.

I keep my calendar marked with upcoming movies to take you to see. We don’t play around when it comes to our movies!

Dear Jack: We Loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Out of the Shadows!



The Ninja Turtle Pinball Machine: Impulse Buying Infographic

Even though Christmas shopping for my son was pretty much complete a couple of months ago, he recently became fascinated by the concept of owning a pinball machine.

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In fact, it was the only thing he asked Santa for at Bass Pro Shop.

So in an order to help Santa out, I checked out Target. I’d already found a cheap, tiny made-in-China type of thing at a party store earlier that day; the kind you’d find in the bottom of a box of Rice Krispies.

But it was at Target that I found the perfect pinball machine for him:

A Ninja Turtles pinball machine, on sale for about $22 (from $25); which is more money than my wife and I agreed to spend to help Santa out on this.

My wife and I are strict Dave Ramsey followers. Therefore, every dollar is specifically accounted for. But in addition to our shared income budget, she and I also each have an annual stipend consisting of birthday and Christmas money from family to last us all year.

I texted my wife: “I am tempted just to spend my own money to buy this for him!”

It was the perfect opportunity for an impulse buy. He would be so happy and so surprised on Christmas morning to unwrap that!

But I thought about the gifts we had already bought him, and considered the other mysterious gifts he’ll get from others, and decided against buying the pinball machine.

If he really is disappointed with the “cereal prize pinball machine” he’s getting, he can spend his own money on the Ninja Turtle one at Target; though he probably won’t. He’ll probably spend it on Legos instead.

So I did it: I resisted the urge to make an impulse purchase. I’m almost surprised at myself.

I will close with an infographic that explains the psychology behind an impulse buy:

Generation Z Marketings Next Big Audience

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Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

4 years old!

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

Two years ago, on your 2nd birthday, I started a tradition of writing you a letter on each of your birthdays; which started me writing to letters every week.

A year I wrote to you on your 3rd birthday, right as you were making that unofficial transition out of “toddlerhood.”

And now a year later, here you are, a year into boyhood. There is no doubt you definitely a real boy; not a toddler, not a baby.

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

Those funny “onion head” pictures on packages saying that toys are not suitable for ages 0-3 are a thing of the past.

You can now easily handle smart parts without it being a problem; as demonstrated in your amazing Lego creations.

This evolution of my son is present in the wallet cards I get from your school each time they have picture day.

I see a chubby blonde-haired baby who turned into a brown-haired boy.

These are the new “good ole days.”

I can honestly say I’m just as happy as you are to see you open your presents. These are the days of Legos, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and Captain America. (Sounds a lot like my own childhood!)

Gone are the days of changing dirty diapers and cleaning bottles. Gone are the days of you stuttering and speaking in pigeon-English.

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

The fact that we’re building this new house (and hopefully moving in it in January) only compliments your coming of age to boyhood, as well as our family’s coming of age to a family with a real boy.

I am so excited to teach you to learn how to ride a bicycle in the cul-de-sac we will live in. And can’t for the day we get to “go camping” in our backyard; even though I convinced you’ll ask to go back inside after about an hour.

Things are good and about to get even better.

Happy 4th Birthday, Son. I love you with all that I have.



Dear Jack: Determining What Is Age Appropriate Versus What Is Just Okay

I mentioned a few weeks ago in my review of Planes: Fire & Rescue that Mommy and I were planning to take you to the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie when it came out in August. (Which was yesterday, August 8th.)

new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie review

Well, the time has come, yet we’re not taking you to see it this weekend. That’s because I realized the movie is rated PG-13, not PG; you’re not even 4 years old yet.

(Not to mention, the new Ninja Turtles movie isn’t getting good reviews either.)

At first I tried to convince myself it would be okay; after all, it’s just the Ninja Turtles!

But after having recently seen and reviewed X-Men: Days Of Future Past as well as Guardians Of The Galaxy, I predict that the new Ninja Turtles movie would simply be too intense for you at this age.

Like those other PG-13 nostalgic movies, I’m sure there will be no explicit violence, but I assume the level of action will be much more intense than what you see while watching Power Rangers on Netflix.

Therefore, I think we’ll check out the new Paddington movie coming out in a few months. That seems a lot more appropriate for you at this age.

I’ve been noticing that’s a new theme for me these days in “daddyhood.”

The question: What is age appropriate for you versus what is simply just okay?

For example, a couple of weeks ago I heard you randomly say, “This isn’t WrestleMania! That’s what my teacher Ms. Michelle says.”

That prompted me to show you a classic 1988 WrestleMania match. You were into it, but haven’t wanted to watch anymore of it since then.

You’d rather watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood instead.

So that’s what I’m accepting: While something like classic WrestleMania or the new Ninja Turtles movie may be okay for you to watch, it’s doesn’t mean it’s necessarily age appropriate.

This morning as you and Mommy left the house to go buy groceries, your departure song was “God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man.”

Looks like VeggieTales is more your speed right now. That’s fine by me.



dad from day one: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Twenty-six weeks.

It’s not so much that I will relive vicariously through him as it will be that I will raise him according to what I know boyhood to be; therefore, Jack’s youth will in certain ways resemble mine.  And not only will I influence him regarding what it means to be a boy, but also by what it means to have a dad, based on how my own dad influenced my life.  Looking back, I can see that my dad was extremely patient with me and willing to spend his free time with me doing whatever goofy thing it was that I was into.

Whether it was helping me make the perfect Pine Wood Derby car for Cub Scouts, going exploring out in the woods, playing “Ninja Turtles” with me (I still have  an impressive collection of those action figures at my parents’ house), or playing Nintendo for hours at a time.

Being a dad to a son also means confronting potentially dangerous situations and keeping him safe through it; whether because he has to, or for fun.  And in the process, the son learns to trust his dad to take care of him, knowing his dad wouldn’t allow him to get hurt.

Like when he was leading our family in a 5 mile hike in Mentone, AL and he encountered a Copperhead snake- he killed it by throwing a huge rock on it.  Then when we got back home he skinned it and displayed it for all of us Cub Scouts.

And like when I was really young, my dad would put me in a pillow case, hold on to the open end, and sling me around the living room.  And because I was a boy, I loved it.

I also would sit up on his shoulders while he stood under the ceiling fan, in front of the mirror, so I could see that my head was just inches away from the spinning blades.  He called the event “The Head Chopper-Offer”.  And because I was a boy, I loved it.

And I always liked to wrestle my dad.  Obviously, it was impossible to beat him.  He was way too strong and way too big for me; not to mention he had a black belt in karate.  And because I was a boy, I loved it.

It was about testing those limits of danger with someone whose job it was to keep me safe.  Ironic, yet necessary.  My dad and I wrestling on the brown shag carpet represents what being a dad to a boy is all about.  The typical “play fighting” allows a boy to test his own strength and power against his own protector and guardian.  And it’s a very natural way for a father and son to be physically close- without even realizing it.

Dads and sons are close in their own unspoken ways.  And as a dad, part of my job will be to initiate some of these weird ancient rituals.  Even if it means confronting danger- it’s part of the journey of becoming a man. And these types of adventures are a rite of passage meant to be passed down from father to son.

Baby Jack is the size of an eggplant.

Here’s what The Bump says about Week 26:

Let your spouse put an ear to your belly — he might be able to pick up baby’s heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby’s also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink — perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.

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