Posts Tagged ‘ Chattanooga ’

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

Monday, November 25th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

As promised for part of your monster truck road trip for your 3rd birthday, we drove the Toyota Tundra to the Build-A-Bear at the Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga, TN.

I can’t take credit for the idea to go to Build-A-Bear Workshop, just the truck ride idea.

Mommy cleverly thought of going to Build-A-Bear as a way to celebrate with not only my parents, your cousin Calla, Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew, but also your great-grandma, who you’ve only met a few times.

Like any man shopping, you immediately identified the animal you want to stuff, a red panda, and got to work.

Sure, you were impressed by the fact you got to pump the stuffing into your red panda by pressing a foot pedal. And by getting to place the heart in your red panda yourself.

But mainly, you just wanted to build your red panda, whatever steps that entailed, to ensure the red panda was officially yours.

Meanwhile, your cousin Calla enjoyed the journey, evidently impressed by the many potential accessories that were available to her pink penguin.

(She ended up getting her a tutu.)

You didn’t care about clothes, scents, or sounds. You just wanted your red panda.

When it came time to name your new friend, you decided to keep things simple:

You named him “Panda.”

Sometimes when your parents plan a seemingly good idea, it doesn’t quite work out as well as it did in our minds.

However, this actually went the way it was supposed to. It was appropriate and a lot of fun.

Not to mention, it wasn’t really expensive and it was an extremely unique experience for a 3 year-old boy and his girl cousin who is 7 months younger.

From Build-A-Bear, we loaded up in the truck and made our way towards the canyon, as you snacked on some delicious sour dough bread from the Earth Fare near the mall.

And of course, “Panda” was there the whole ride across the state lines of Georgia and Alabama.

To be continued…





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


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Jack’s First White Christmas

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Week 6.

During my first summer teaching English in Thailand, I took a week-long vacation to the magical island of Koh Samui, as referenced in the movie Meet the Parents (“Jack speak-a Thai?”).  While there, I went to a highly promoted (via hand-painted street banners) Muay Thai boxing tournament.  Inside the dimly lit warehouse-style building on the outskirts of legitimate commerce, I felt like I was part of the movie Bloodsport staring Jean Claude Van Damme.  Afterwards, as a souvenir, I cut down one of the street banners advertising the event and hung it up in my college dorm at Liberty University the next Fall.  Everyone who saw it laughed at the poor English translation: “Super and Real Fight”.  I mean, it was a real fight, and I would say it was super as well, but for the fight to be super and real in the same adjective phrase just sounds funny.  And that is why I couldn’t title this entry as “Jack’s First and White Christmas”.

In preparing our move from Nashville, TN to Fort Payne, AL (which is located between Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Atlanta), my wife (who is from Sacramento, CA) had asked me if it ever snowed in Alabama.  Though the words “snow” and “Alabama” seem like they don’t go together at all, though do. Just like a lot of people don’t realize that Alabama actually borders the Gulf of Mexico and has several beaches, like Gulf Shores.  I told my wife to expect it to snow a few inches, up to three times a year.  And sure enough, as we woke up around 6 AM Christmas morning to feed and change Jack, we looked out the window to see large snowflakes falling steadily.

A couple of hours later, we drove 0.7 miles to my parents’ house to spend the day with them and my sister and her husband.  Turns out, the snow didn’t stop falling and the temperature remained low.  So the seven of us ending up staying the weekend together, being that the roads were iced over.  One of the gifts my parents bought for Jack was a really cool wagon; ideally for when he gets older. However, when we started getting ready for bed on Christmas night and we were deciding where Jack should sleep, since we hadn’t packed his travel crib, I said, “Well, what about his wagon?” Not many people can say that their first Christmas was a white Christmas and that on top of that, that they slept in a wagon.  But I guess it’s not all that strange, being that we were celebrating a holiday where a baby boy slept in a manger.  We didn’t have a manger for Jack, but we did have a wagon.

Jack is swinging Christmas morning before we left for my parents' house.

We got snowed in.

Jack's presents from his parents.

Jack's presents from the family.

The Four Generations of Shells: Baby Jack is the only Shell boy to carry on the family name.

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