Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Dear Jack,

For Valentine’s Day, on your own merit, you decided to make your sister a special Valentine out of construction paper: a pink kitty. That was very thoughtful of you! She loved it.

As for you, I’d say you had a pretty big Valentine’s Day. Apparently, for some reason your friend Zeke didn’t end up giving a candy Valentine to everyone in your class, so he decided it was just the same to give you three; which saved him the trouble of having to get all his Valentine’s to the right place. Lucky you!

And speaking of, your classmate Haley gave you a very special Valentine: a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I’d say it’s quite likely you were the only one in your class to receive such a Valentine from her. You must have made some impression on Haley this year in class…

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Also, I have to point out your cool picture you drew of yourself opening your Valentine’s. It is right on!

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

In your Valentine’s box from us, Mommy and I gave you exactly what you wanted: Some Pokemon cards and Yo-kai Watch coins. You are so into those things right now!

At night after we put you to bed, we let you stay up a little while longer, as you study your Pokemon character book, by the light of the desk lamp. And every morning on the drive to school, you study your Pokemon cards.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Apparently, the studying pays off, because you can accurately pronounce the names of just about all 152 Pokemon characters in your book!

It’s safe to say, we know what’s going to be in your Easter basket. Amazingly though, you haven’t asked us for the actual 20 dollar Yo-kai Watch that “reads” the coins.

I love seeing how interested you are into this typical 6 year-old stuff.

It was a very fun Valentine’s Day!



Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)


Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

9 months.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly,

It just so happened that I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break on Valentine’s Day. No cavities, by the way…

My dental hygienist pointed out they had just refilled the treasure box full of toys. So I got a little pink bear to add to your Valentine’s Day bundle.

Mommy also had me pick up a pink ball for you, to match the pink Strawberry yogurt puffs.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Though you weren’t quite sure what the gifts were all about, you still gladly went along with the festivities.

Plus, of course, Mommy dressed you up in cute Valentine’s outfits. Seriously, you are so cute!

Despite being only 9 months old, the little girl in you is very evident. I love what I see of that little girl so far. I love having you has my daughter.

Something that is definitely different about you compared to your brother is that he never cared about having a pacifier. But as for you, it’s a fun accessory.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

I love it when you’re just playing and then for no apparent reason, you pick up the pacifier and stick it in your mouth. My favorite is when you’re falling asleep in your bed, and your pacifier falls out of your mouth.

Every time, you just take matters into your own hands: You put the pacifier back in your mouth so that you can officially fall asleep.

So yeah, I wonder if you are going to be the kind of little girl who likes carrying it around, like Maggie Simpson.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Maybe that means that you won’t still be treating your baby blanket like it’s a member of the family, when you’re in Kindergarten, like your brother does.

And though Jack is quick to help you play with your toys, he never lets you play with his blanket.

As you can see, you really enjoyed your very first Valentine’s Day.



Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Dear Jack,

Last Friday, you celebrated Valentine’s Day with your new friends at Rainbow Child Care Center.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You gave Transformers Valentines to your friends this year. I have to laugh at the thought of one alien robot expressing affection to another alien robot…

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Your teacher Ms. Aimee set up a very special Valentine’s photo booth for you and your friends. From what I can see in these pictures you took with Mommy, it looks like you had a lot of fun.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Then on Saturday, which actually was Valentine’s Day, our family went back to Mellow Mushroom for a special family dinner.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

When we first arrived there in downtown Franklin, you wanted to check out the animals in the toy crane machines. Amazingly, we found a honey badger! (Just earlier I had introduced you to honey badgers, thanks to a PBS documentary on Netflix.)

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

While we waited for our food, you enjoyed figuring out how to use your new Spiderman binoculars which you received from a new friend at your new school.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

It also was a pretty big deal to you once you realized that you got to keep your Mellow Mushroom cup that your water came in with your kids’ meal.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You’ve proudly been drinking out of it every night for dinner since then.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

We finished off the weekend with some fun pastas we found while buying our new sofa at World Market. By combining Valentine pasta and Space pasta, we accidentally ate a lunch that compliments one of our new signs for our house:

Love you to the moon and back!

It was a very fun, family Valentine’s Day weekend for us. Mommy and I even got you a new animal, Slush; as well as a little Lego train which you quickly built without any of my help.



Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

My 14 Month Old Son’s Bromantic Valentine’s Cards

February 14, 2012 at 3:15 am , by 

14 months.

For Valentine’s Day 1986, I received a card from my fellow preschooler friend, Alex Igou. It featured Darth Vader on the front, and on the back it said, “Be Mine… Or Else!”

It can be truly hilarious to read what kids’ store-bought Valentine’s cards actually say, even 26 years later; especially to members of the same gender.

Last week my son’s daycare center, KinderCare, gave me a list of the other 6 classmates in his toddler group. Turns out, they are all boys. No girls.

But being the crafty girl that she is, my wife made some Valentines out of some leftover felt and paired them with some animal crackers from Whole Foods.

So yeah, I couldn’t help but think, “My son is giving out bromantic Valentine’s Day cards.”

It’s funny to me, yet deep at the same time:

Since the 15th Century, Valentine’s Day has been associated with romantic love. Interestingly though, the holiday originally began as way to honor Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and was established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I.

Today, it’s basically ironic to think of Valentine’s Day as anything other than a romantic celebration. But for the majority of its existence, the holiday was intended to honor men who died for the sake of their faith in Christ.

So now I wonder: Can Valentine’s Day be used to celebrate love for all people, in brotherly and sisterly ways? I say it should. Because simply, loving God means loving others.

As a follower of Christ, I am fascinated with the way Jesus answered this question:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-40

I acknowledge the Bible is full of things I have a hard time understanding or accepting, yet I continue to believe despite my lack of competence. But seriously, the thought of truly loving my neighbors (everyone else beside me) as much as myself may be the most difficult part to grasp.
Is it even possible? And yet, Christ said that is the 2nd greatest commandment.
Man, that’s tough. It’s definitely easier said than done for a guy like me who has enough issues battling selfishness when it comes to my own flesh and blood: my beautiful son.
If I can’t get over myself enough to love my son like I should, how am I ever going to love those who annoy me as much as I love myself?
Being romantic for Valentine’s Day is the easy part. If only that’s all there was to it.


Planning Valentine’s Day: 5 Steps for Husbands (And Dads)

February 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm , by 

14 months.

Alright guys, you don’t need my help here. You knew what it took to get her to fall for you in the first place. I’m assuming you’ve already begun brainstorming on how to make this Valentine’s Day special for the love of your life and the mother of your child.

So today I’m just here to offer up a few more decent ideas to throw into the mix, or remind you about, as V-Day approaches us. Here’s what I say about making Valentine’s Day special for her:

Keep it simple, thoughtful, and unique.

1. Buy a miniature cake from the grocery store for the two of you to share. They cost around 8 bucks and are essentially the equivalent of buying two of those trendy $4 cupcakes; which wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Chances are, she will be charmed by your “fun” and “cute” idea of throwing together Valentine’s dessert.

2. Pick up a special drink and serve it in champagne or wine glasses. Whether it’s your wifey’s favorite wine, cider, gourmet beer, or even just sparkling grape juice. The idea is to bring a touch of fanciness and class; yet so simply.

3. Personalize her Valentine’s Day card. I just did a more detailed article on this alone, but for now, what matters is that you write more than “I love you” on a 99 cent card. This is a great opportunity to reaffirm how you feel about her with words that will potentially stick around longer than the words spoken every other day. Seeing something written in black and white really has staying power.

4. Get her a sugary treat for later. It doesn’t have to be a box of chocolates. Maybe she prefers Twizzlers or Jelly Bellies. This aspect is like the stocking stuffer of Valentine’s Day. Plus, it’s just nice to have something leftover for the next day she can enjoy while she’s at work.

5. Oh yeah, the flowers. Honestly, I never spend a lot on these. The important thing is that you have them to display in a vase on the counter or table. Flowers are important because they last about two weeks longer than Valentine’s Day itself.

Notice how none of my ideas involve spending a lot of money or require too much effort.

Simple, thoughtful, and unique. That’s the man plan for Valentine’s Day.

Not to mention, by default, you’re teaching your son how to be romantic and/or your daughter what she should expect from a guy you would approve of someday.

Image: Man and woman as a happy couple together, via Shutterstock.

John Hancock

“Sell your soul for an autograph.” -“Big Bang Baby” by Stone Temple Pilots

There is no way for me to count all the concerts I’ve been to throughout my lifetime. But there have been a lot. Most of them were during my high school years and almost exclusively involved Christian alternative rock bands that most people weren’t familiar with like Plank Eye and The Supertones. But to me, they were famous rock stars. And I got their autographs. And that made me cool.

It’s a funny thing as a 15 year-old kid to ask a band member for their autograph. Because unless I had a question to ask about the meaning of a particular song or unless I generically told them what a huge fan I was like everyone else in the merchandise line, there wasn’t much else to say.

This year on Valentine’s Day I was at Fresh Market buying some flowers for my wife.  I noticed that most of the customers were graviting towards the back of the store.  The rumor was that Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were sharing lunch at the store’s deli.

I laughed at all the crazy people caring so much about the celebrities there.  Just to make sure it wasn’t a hoax, I journeyed to the back.  It was really them.  Enjoying their private lunch as if no one was around.  As if no one was gawking, whispering, and calling their friends.  And before I knew it, I had snapped a blurry picture of Keith and Nicole with my camera phone.  And they both happened to look up and see me do it.

I realized I was adding to the noise, at that moment.

We put celebrities on a higher plane than ourselves. Yet in the act of admiration (often infatuation and sometimes even obsession) we ironically tend to treat them as being on a lower plane than ourselves. Like a magical charm. Not exactly a human being.

While it’s our respect for their talent we admire, we equate their value to a tangible imprint. An autograph or a camera phone picture is sometimes all we really want from them when we are actually given the opportunity to speak with them as fellow human beings.