Archive for the ‘ Home Life ’ Category

The Rules Of A Game Sometimes Change With A 3 Year-Old

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last month for your birthday, one of the gifts Mommy and I got for you was Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.

It’s the classic memory matching card game, but with a few twists… like the “Take Buddy” card.

The game comes with a little plastic action figure of Buddy, one of the characters from the TV show.

Whoever has Buddy at the end of the game gets a lot of extra bonus points, which in itself could lead to winning the game.

Of course, you don’t care about the points. For you, winning the game means not losing Buddy.

As Mommy and I learned, the game actually ends the moment that she or I draw the “Take Buddy” card and try to, as the card implies, take Buddy from you.

The youngest player starts with Buddy, so if we actually played by the rules, it would mean about 90 seconds into each game, the game would end… because you would get Buddy taken away from you.

So, our rules for the game mean that no matter what, Buddy is yours for the entire game. It’s just about matching the cards, and sometimes, you even use the kitchen tongs to pick up the cards and place them in your Tonka dump truck.

There will come a day when the rules will actually matter when we play family board games. But for now, just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no crying in Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.

And the reason there is no crying in this game is because we don’t play by the rules.

I think it’s safe to say we need to very slowly (!) work our way up to other classics such as Monopoly, which is all about taking away from the other players until they gradually wither away to nothing.

Yeah, we’ve still got a few years before we try that one out as a family.



Check out these fun party games from Shop Parents. Then take our quiz and find out what career your tot is destined for.

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The 3 Year-Old Version Of Cursing: “Poo You! I Poke You In The Eye!”

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

Half your life ago, which was a year and half ago, I wrote “My Toddler’s [Bleep] Potty Mouth.”

Back in those days, when you tried to say the word “cookie,” it came out as… a word I’m not going to say on record.

You didn’t have the ability to announce certain sounds, so a completely innocent word could end up being something that would be censored on cable TV.

These days, however, you can pronounce most sounds you need to and therefore, “accidental curse words” are less of an occurrence.

However, I’m picking up on what I call “the 3 year-old version of cursing.”

Today Mommy was out with a friend for a little while, as part of her monthly designated girlfriend time (my designated guy friend time was a few weeks ago when I went with some friends to see Thor: The Dark World… then Hunger Games: Catching Fire), so this afternoon I stayed home with you cleaning our “2 and a half” bathrooms.

It was time for your noontime nap, but I really wanted to get the cleaning out of the way before you went to sleep.

So I made you a deal…

You followed me to each of the bathrooms as I cleaned them. While I scrubbed the sinks, toilets, and tubs with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Peppermint Soap, you read me stories from a book your aunt Jeneane recently mailed you for Christmas: Best-Loved Children’s Stories.

As I was kneeling down to clean the shower drain, I heard you say, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”

I paused for a moment, as I did my best to keep you from hearing me laugh.

Then I walked out of the bathroom doorway to come see which storyline could have motivated that kind of dialogue.

“The purple page, Daddy,” you explained as you flipped back a few pages, to show me the part in “Ali Baba” where a thief annoyingly questions a lady store worker.

I’m guesing it was she that told the thief, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”

What a clever curse from the mind of a 3 year-old. I mean, I don’t want you repeating that at school, where you probably heard it to begin with.

But seriously, that’s pretty funny!



Check out the 25 Manners Kids Should Know. Then, shop for your kid’s new favorite book to read.



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Dinner Time’s A Bit Different With Daddy, Instead of Mommy

Friday, December 6th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

I remember those sort of strange nights as a kid when my dad was in charge of providing me grub and conversation. But it was a nice change, too.

Every once in a while, like tonight, there is that rare occasion where it’s just you and me for dinner time.

What’s for dinner? Ah, leftover Annie’s Mac and Cheese in the fridge, which you insist on eating on cold- and of course, I don’t argue.

Applesauce too. Even half of an unfinished English muffin pizza that Mommy made you from… a few (?) days ago.

Classy meal.

No table required. We both just dined on leftovers from the fridge, at the bar. You quickly resorted to losing the spoon and just eating with your hands.

I was impressed with your barbaric ways.

Lucky for you, there happened to be a chocolate covered cream treat that Mommy had brought home from work.

You even got dessert! Score!

But yes, the conversation during “Daddy does dinner” nights is… sort of caveman.

All I know is, there is silence interupted by grunts. Not to mention, no real eye contact. What would have been at least a 25 minute meal had Mommy been there, it gets edited down to no more than 8 minutes when Daddy’s hosting dinner.

I think part of the reason is because we have to save our energy for our “post dinner scuffle.”

There’s the part where we can go in the hallway and I roll Mommy’s exercise ball at you like you’re Indiana Jones. And where Daddy becomes a ridable bull.

And your favorite, where you grab a random kitchen utensil and use it to “chomp Daddy’s pasta hair” while riding on my shoulders.

So, yeah. Dinner time’s a bit different than Daddy, instead of Mommy. As much fun as we do have together for dinner, I still know you’d rather Mommy to be in charge of dinner instead.

That’s cool.

I can still roll her exercise ball at you anyway.





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2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

Last Tuesday when the nice man came to take back the Toyota Tundra (which we used for your monster truck road trip in to celebrate your 3rd birthday), he randomly replaced it with a new 2013 Toyota Rav4. I was totally not expecting that!

But, I’ve learned that sometimes in life, it’s just best not to question things…

With that being said, for the past week now, our family has got to drive around in our 3rd Toyota. (The 1st was the Sienna minivan.)

Therefore, I suppose, by default, I am becoming a car reviewer; analyzing cars from the dad’s perspective, as I see how the vehicle works for the whole family, not just the driver.

I will start out by saying this, the Rav4 is definitely my favorite Toyota I have driven so far in my small list of reviews. The Rav4 is a perfect physical and pscyhological fit for me.

At 5’9″, which happens to be about the height of the average American man, I found the vehicle to have the ideal amount of space for me. If I were an SUV, I think it’s safe to say I could very easily be a Rav4.

Small SUVs have always been my personal preference as far as the actual car I drive: My first car was a 1988 Ford Bronco II and my current is a 2004 Honda Element.Basically, I love a good “commuter SUV.” I don’t need a big engine or a lot of power, but I do like a little more cargo room and height that an SUV offers compared to most cars.

Plus, most importantly, getting good gas mileage is very crucial to me. The 2013 Rav4 gets 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway, for an average of 26.

Something else I should point out about the new, 4th generation, 2013 Rav4 is this: It’s feels plenty masculine enough for me. I had always tagged Rav4s as a “girl SUV,” like the Nissan Xterra. (I don’t know why that is, but that’s what I’ve always thought.)

But this newest rendition of the Rav4 looks a lot different than its predecessors, so I want to say “good job” to the people who designed this one. I would very proudly continue driving the Rav4; again, it’s a perfect fit for my lifestyle and personality.

So, what did you, the 3 year-old little boy who is obsessed with cars think about the Rav4?

Well, you said out of the 3 JToyotas (Sienna, Tundra, Rav4), your favorite was actually the Sienna minivan.

You didn’t give me a reason, but I think it’s because the Sienna is “all windows” and you were better able to see all the other cars on the road during the drive to and from school each day.

But of course, you were satisfied simply because of the fact that the Rav4 is an SUV… and that our model has a moon roof. (You love SUVs!)

The Rav4 was our vehicle for Thanksgiving weekend so we definitely had a lot of family fun in it.

Mommy got to drive us to Starbucks on Thanksgiving to buy the newspaper with all the ads in it. She accidently wore your bear hat inside the store and didn’t realize it until she came back to us in the parking lot.

Plus, the Rav4 became the 1st vehicle to transport you “diaper free” to a public place, where you successfully didn’t have an accident. More on that tomorrow; I’m not completely finished talking about the Rav4 yet.

Okay, so, tomorrow the nice man is supposed to pick up the Rav4 and take it back to Atlanta. We’ll either be back in my Honda Element… or we’ll both be surprised and I’ll end up writing another car review about a different Toyota.

Maybe I’ll do this car reviewing thing enough to where people actually start seeing me as a serious family car reviewer?…





Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.


P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:


Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort Of

Nashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park


We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!

It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now


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Our 1st Parent Teacher Conference

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

On Friday, Mommy and I went to your school for our first ever routine parent teacher conference. Most of what Ms. Lauren told us about you, we already knew:

That you’re obsessed with trucks and you love to be the line leader.

But what is a bit suprising is that, at school, you never stop talking!

As for me, I was a fairly quiet kid until about the 4th grade; so I sort of assumed the same would be for you.


In fact, you’re so talkative, that Ms. Lauren told us, sort of half-jokingly, that you’re the tatttletell of the class.

When she tells another student to do something, you inform her of your classmate’s failure to comply with the instructions.

It’s not a big surprise, considering what I do for a living is very HR-based. In essense, I tattletale on adults all day long at my job in the office…

Of course, not everything you chat about in class is informing your teacher about your classmates. You also put your teacher in this situation where she is constantly having to make sense of the stories you tell her.

She hears the detailed list of cars that you and I see on the way to school each morning.

Ms. Lauren commented to Mommy and me, “Are there really that many pink trucks and SUVs in Nashville?”

Probably not.

It’s just that you never forget seeing one the first time and it ends up in the regular rotation of your conversation play list.

Nonetheless, you always have plenty to talk about at school. Here I thought that was just with Mommy and I at home, since a lot of the times we see you interact with others, you are shy.

Now we know, you’ve got a lot to say, and Mommy and I aren’t the only ones hearing it.




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