Posts Tagged ‘ Alabama ’

How Does Your Organic, Non-GMO Garden Grow?

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

While it’s no secret that our family of three has been serving as advocates of the plant-based lifestyle for a couple of years now, what I haven’t mentioned is that for the past several months, my side of the family has been fiercely transitioning to plant-based life as well.

Your Papa (my dad) and your Auntie Dana (my sister) have basically been vegans since last Fall.

By default, the other family members have ended up finding themselves in this peculiar alternative lifestyle as well.

Even since Christmas when we spent several days there in Alabama with them visiting, there was no meat or eggs served in any of the food.

Two weeks ago when we visited everyone for your cousin’s birthday, Nonna (my mom) proudly showed us her new garden. Yes, the seeds are organic and non-GMO. And the fertilizer is simple, classic horse manure.

You even got to help plant some cucumbers. Nonna texted me a picture yesterday of them sprouting of the dirt. How cool is it going to be when we visit the family later and eat those cucumbers, knowing you were the one who planted them?

One of the ongoing themes you’ve probably noticed, when I write about food, is the importance of questioning where your food comes from.

As for the vegetables and fruits we will eat when we visit family, we’ll know for sure where our food came from.

I should point out that you and I, along with Spiderman, helped water the soil around the garden.

Your “Uncle Owl” (my Uncle Al) had bought you a Spiderman sprinkler last summer that you decided you wanted to play with.

So basically, you assigned me to be brave enough to jump over it and run around it.

Then when you saw how cool it was for me to do it, you did the same. Nothing like getting wet by the Spiderman-themed garden hose sprinkler while wearing your pajamas.

We are now a part of our family’s organic, non-GMO garden. But how does it grow?

With love, water, and horse manure.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Birthday Party For A 3 Year-Old

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

For Memorial Day weekend, we took a road trip in the Sante Fe SUV to go to your cousin Calla’s 3rd birthday party. I should point out, that by default, you had to become a Brony for the afternoon, since you were surrounded by two other 3 year-olds, who both happened to be girls.

One of them, was of course, your cousin Calla.

The other was, well, only your best friend in the whole world: Sophie!

She moved away back in February, but it turns out, where your cousin Calla lives in basically the half-way point between where Sophie moved and where we live.

As expected, you and Sophie picked up right where you left off.

Needless to say the three of you had a great time. It should be a given that when in the presence of our family, things will be fun, random, and unique.

And so they were.

The party got started off right with an inflatable castle,  a rocking horse, and a playground underneath the Alabama pines.

After the three of you burned off some energy in the fresh air, one thing led to another, and the next event became a visit down into the storm shelter.

Yeah, because that’s normal…

It is with us, at least. After I closed the hatch, I stood above you all, on ground level, pretending to be the “Big Bad Wolf,” howling through the ventilation pipe.

You guys cheerfully stayed down there much longer than I would have expected.

After all, with the exception of the little bit of light shining down from where I was standing, it was otherwise completely dark in the storm shelter.

I suppose there’s something about hanging out in a storm shelter that makes you crave munchies, because up next, the three of you had vegan vanilla cupcakes at the Friendship Is Magic table.

Meanwhile, we adults dined on vegan French toast and vegan quiche as well.

Because if things weren’t quirky enough with our family, you better believe that our plant-based lifestyle extends beyond just you, me, and Mommy…

What comes next after the snacks and birthday cake? The presents!

We got Calla a tutu, while “Uncle Owl,” who is my Uncle Al (pictured in the storm shelter picture, flashing a peace sign) presented Calla with the gift that earned the title “Most/Least Creatively Wrapped Gift.”

Throughout my whole life, he has always been known for buying us nice gifts, and a lot of them… and wrapping them in newspaper.

This time, though, he decided to mix things up.

He “wrapped” Calla’s largest gift by placing it in a large black garbage bag.

Calla didn’t seem to notice the humor, she was just so happy to be getting a kid-sized Disney Princesses sofa.

I think you missed the “unwrapping” of the sofa, because Sophie’s daddy was taking turns bouncing you and Sophie on the giant exercise ball in the living room.

Just imagine had we known what all was going to happen at Calla’s party in advance.

Imagine if the invitation would have arrived in the mail, proclaiming this:

“Come join us to celebrate Calla’s 3rd birthday!

We will be playing outside in a jumpy castle, riding a rocking horse, hanging out in a storm shelter, bouncing on a yoga ball, and we will try to figure out what’s underneath that garbage bag.”

Yep, just another all-American birthday party for a 3 year-old girl.

All the standard stuff you’d expect to see… in our family, at least.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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A Front Row Seat For The Train Show (1000th Dadabase Post)

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

I always wondered where my 1000th Dadabase post would land.

Well, this is it. Completely random and unplanned, this one is about your love for trains and how you got a “front row seat” for a real train.

Our family drove to my hometown of Fort Payne, AL for Memorial Day for your cousin Calla’s 3rd birthday.

While there, you asked if we could all go the park.

As Nonna pushed you on the swing and Papa pushed Calla, we heard a that famous thunderous roar, as the train whistle tooted.

“Jack! The train is coming! Let’s go see it right now! Come on, run!” I announced.

Needless to say, we might as well have been right there in the presence of Elmo; because you were in such awe of the majesty of this Norfolk Southern train passing in front of you as Nonna held you.

I can only imagine what was going through your head.

Until that day, you had never seen a moving train so close up; only from our car, but even then, it wasn’t nearly as close as this train was.

You have spent countless hours over the past couple of years meticulously crawling around the carpet, pushing your Thomas the Train and Chuggington trains on their plastic tracks.

I have watched you day after day as you have carefully lined up each train so perfectly; matching up “line leader’s” train with the appropriately color matching coal cart.

This is something you’ve always been very serious about. So to see the real thing, it was more than a big deal to you.

I’m glad I was able to witness you seeing your first real live train.

While it may not be some epic letter to you in this 1000th Dadabase post, I think it does properly symbolize what’s important to you as a 3 year-old boy: family and trains.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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The Joy Of Wandering Around Aimlessly As A Kid

Friday, March 14th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This week I happened to read a really cool article that is going viral right now, called “Things I Did As A Kid (But My Kids Won’t)“,  by Amber Dusick.

She explains how parents born in the 1980s, such as myself, were basically the last generation of children to enjoy no seat belts, no helmets, no childproofing, flying attempts, (certain) playground equipment, sledding, and freedom.

What I see that all 7 of the things have in common is that they all are related to safety.

In other words, if I raised you by the same standards of safety that were okay in 198os in the mountains of Alabama when and where I grew up, I would be considered (by some, at least) as a bad parent.

That sounds weird to say because in no way is it to discredit the parents who raised Generation Y; it’s just that things are a lot different now.

Out of the 7 things that Amber Dusick describes in her article, the one that jumps out to me as the most valuable is… freedom:

“Perhaps the most striking contrast is the freedom I remember having. I’d eat breakfast and then leave.

I’d wander around. Aimlessly. Sometimes with neighborhood kids and sometimes alone. I’d cross our creek with homemade bridges. And catch turtles without ever hearing of the word Salmonella.

I’d put roller skates on and skate down sidewalks. And stop myself by crashing into a bush, just before the street.

I never stopped to eat lunch. Because I remember being out all day long. Only to be called in for dinner when it was getting dark.

My kids? Yeah, right. At least not until they are older. Like thirty.”

During my own childhood, I had the privilege of riding my bike, as well as my moped, through nearby neighborhoods. I explored the woods with my friends. I went around shooting my BB gun at power poles and metal fences.

I totally know what the author means when she refers to wandering around aimlessly as a kid. I loved doing that!

Almost seems almost like taboo now.

I want you to be able to have the kind of adventurous boyhood I had, and you will, just in a different format… somehow.

We’ll have to make a few changes, but we’ll find a way to make it work.

Even then, it’s hard to imagine you ever wandering around in the woods like I did. Double standard, I know.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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And Now Your Best Friend Is Moving Away…

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past two weekends, we have spent time with Sophie and her parents…

Because, you see, well… Sophie’s moving from Nashville to Alabama in a couple of weeks.

I haven’t necessarily broke the news to you yet.

At least the good part is that where Sophie is moving is only about 2 and a half hours from where Nana and Papa’s house is, which is the halfway point between where we live and where Sophie is moving.

So this is not goodbye…

However, it is definitely a major milestone in your life so far. You and Sophie have known each other since July 2011, when Mommy and I enrolled you at the daycare that you both have remained for the past 2 and a half years.

For the majority of your life, Sophie has been a major part of it. Actually, if I cared enough to do the math, you might even spend more waking hours with her than you do Mommy and I each week.

Yesterday as you and Sophie had an ongoing 1970′s car chase/demolition derby at the indoor playground, her mommy and I talked about the move.

We mutually acknowledged the fact that there’s a good chance you and Sophie won’t actually remember all these fun times you’ve had together.

For the majority of your life, you’ve spent countless hours with someone who has been like a twin sister to you.

But will all this time simply be memories for the parents, more so than the kids?

Here’s how I look at it- this is what I told Sophie’s mommy:

Based on what I learned in Child Psychology in college, the first couple of years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for his or her development and future decisions for the rest of his or her life.

So even if these stories I have written about you and Sophie are, at best, foggy memories to you when I go back a year from now and show you these pictures, I’ll still know that Sophie Culpepper had a lot to do with your understanding of what a true friend really is.

It will be her picture in the dictionary, next to the definition of friend.

I will close by providing links for a dozen of the stories I have written about you two over these past couple of years…

Jack And Sophie: Baby Buddies In Crime (November 17, 2011)

The Toddlers’ Beat Poet Society Of Nashville (June 4th, 2012)

Mall Toddlers: My Idea For A Straight-To-DVD Kids Movie (September 17, 2012)

My Toddler Son, The Pony Whisperer/Natural Laxative (October 11, 2012)

Free Craft Activity For Kids: Home Depot’s Little Helper Headquarters (December 5, 2012)

Forcing Your Kid To Apologize And Hug The Other Kid (February 1, 2013)

My Son’s Alter Ego Is A Schlubby Dinosaur (April 29, 2013)

Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Kid… (July 4, 2013)

A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date (August 6, 2013)

Finding Non-Petroleum, “Bug Juice” Free Cupcakes (November 15, 2013)

A Purposely Low Key 3rd Birthday Party (November 17, 2013)

It’s A Boy’s Boy’s Boy’s World (December 17, 2013)

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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