Posts Tagged ‘ family ’

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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I Travelled Through Time And Space To Get To You

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

People are fascinated by the concept of time travel. I can understand why.

Only God is not limited by time or space. 

However, we as human beings are stuck in the 70 year lifespan we are assigned. No such thing as a re-do for even just one day.

We can at least learn from our mistakes, but we can’t go back in time to change our past in order to ultimately change our future.

Still though, I think I keep secretly hoping that one day I can. It’s stupid to think that, I know.

I could have been a much more knowledgeable, helpful husband and father and son and brother and friend if only I knew then what I know now.

Not being able to time-travel puts us in an annoying situation where we have to make things right, ourselves- as people allow us, after the fact.

Saturday, Mommy picked up Frozen (more on that in the next letter) for you from Redbox and a movie called, About Time, for her and me.

When I saw the cover with Rachel McAdams, I assumed it was just another version of The Notebook.

I was wrong. It was more of a barely R-rated version of Marley And Me, without the dog, but with a plot line involving time travel. 

It features the close relationship between a father and his adult son, as they both are able to time-travel to events in their own life in order to relive them for the better.

They eventually begin reliving each day, right after it happens, in an effort to catch all the subtleties they missed the first time.

There are those missed opportunities to smile at someone, to make someone laugh, or to just simply appreciate the otherwise uninteresting parts of life with the people they encounter.

The son begins realizing he no longer needs to go back and relive each day, as he sharpens his ability to truly appreciate those “lesser” moments. He begins enhancing the lives of his family, and strangers, in the process.

But I guess I don’t have to time-travel to learn that same lesson.

Actually, I feel that watching the movie twice over the weekend has actually helped changed my thinking for the better.

The movie points out that we are all travelling through time each day and it’s up to us how we manage that time the first and final time through it.

It just so happens, you and I are travelling through time together. You’re stuck with me, kid.

I loved that the theme song of the movie, which is featured throughout, is “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. That was the song that Mommy and I had for “our song” at our wedding nearly 6 years ago.

“The Luckiest” points out how much it matters that two people are born in the same span in the history of the world so that they can know each other and be close.

Had I been born a hundred years ago and Mommy was born in 1981, as she truly was, then you wouldn’t exist. The three of us wouldn’t exist as a family.

But I believe we were meant to be together in this life in which we travel through time together.

This movie, About Time, helped remind me just how special and important  it is to be alive during the time I am… with the people I am here with.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Why I’m The Cheapest Parent I Know

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

For me, it’s almost like a contest: 

Can I be the cheapest parent that most people know?

I believe in the importance of just not buying things to begin with. I think that’s where the most money is saved.

I’ve covered some of this before in “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.”

You are being raised in a household with a strict weekly budget, where our cars are over 10 years old but paid off; you live in a home without smart phones, without cable or satellite TV, without updated electronics, without pets… not to mention we rarely go out to eat because Mommy cooks basically every meal.

(And where Daddy does the dishes for all those meals. I’ve gotten really good at that, by the way.)

A credit card is used only to take advantage of the credit card company; earning points to get free stuff for our family. So we do use one, but it’s immediately paid off each week and is built into our budget the same way as a debit card.

We even reuse our plastic baggies.

You’re stuck in a household where we have an outdated 2005 TV with a mockable 30 inch screen with $8 a month Netflix streaming.

I admit, we do have an older model Kindle that Mommy bought… on clearance, after the newer model came out.

And that goes back to our trick about only buying stuff during the last two weeks of the month, when more items are on sale, like I’ve mentioned before.

Not to mention, I’m not going to deny that one of the reasons you are an only child (at least for now) is for financial reasons.

Part of your parents’ cheapness comes from us having 1st and 2nd generation immigrant grandparents from Italy and Croatia, who lived through the Great Depression. That rubbed off on us; I’m sure of it.

The rest of it has to do with us having to “learn money” the hard way.

We made a lot of financial mistakes that we didn’t realize were mistakes at the time; like moving away from a city where we had good jobs to a smaller city where we basically couldn’t find jobs for nearly 9 months- before finally moving back to where the jobs were.

However, I look to the positive. Living through that caused Mommy and me to forever think differently, for the best:

We ended up being able to pay off over $58,000 in debt, after living off credit cards because we thought that was normal.

Thank God (and Dave Ramsey), we have now begun reversing our debt into savings. However, I think that having to live through through our own “great depression” has forever changed us.

There’s just no way we could see things the same way again.

So while it may be weird that your parents can’t just look up the height of Tom Cruise on a smart phone in the middle of a conversation during dinner at Red Lobster…

And while it may sound strange that our family has to wait for TV shows and movies to hit Redbox or Netflix before we can see them, it’s okay by us.

Hey, our family is different. You get that by now. This is just me trying to explain what made us this way so you can tell your friends why your parents are so cheap… and/or quirky.

Love,

Daddy

Save money with out indoor activity finder!

Lords of the Playground: The Number
Lords of the Playground: The Number
Lords of the Playground: The Number

Above image, courtesy of Dave Ramsey.

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I Actually Like Buying Groceries With My Kid

Monday, April 7th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

With Mommy and I both working full-time, it’s a fact that as a family, we are constantly running short on quality time for the three of us together.

So even though it would be more efficient for Mommy just to go buy groceries by herself on Saturday mornings while we stay home, we instead have made it a family routine that we all go to there together.

I have learned that quality family time isn’t always automatic; it’s often something we have to create.

Granted, buying groceries is not necessarily the most stress-free thing to involve a 3 year-old. But finally, it’s gotten to a point where I feel it really is quality family time for us… largely in part because our Whole Foods in Nashville recently purchased about a dozen kid-sized shopping carts.

On the car ride there each Saturday morning, you and Mommy read stories in the back seat while I drive.

Then once we get there, you grab a kid-sized cart and literally help me buy my specific items, like my Synergy brand Kombucha (a source of Vitamin B12 for vegans) and my bottle of balsamic vinegar (I avoid eating oils for salad dressing).

It’s a lot of fun for you and me both. You actually are quite helpful to me- you take the job seriously.

You don’t make a joke of the task. It’s not like you’re running around, crashing the cart into fruit stands. You’ve never tipped over the cart or made a mess of any kind while pushing that little cart.

Then, after we’ve collected my stash, we always have a father-and-son breakfast in the Whole Foods café; which is our version of going out to eat, since most restaurants are not very enticing to plant-based families like us.

By the time we’re finished with our vegan bars and coconut water, Mommy is finished with the rest of the shopping.

What’s not to like? It has become good quality family time for us.

Of course, that kid-sized shopping cart has a lot to do with that. It gives you a purpose and transforms you into Daddy’s little helper, while Mommy has time to do the hard work.  So that way everybody’s happy, even at the grocery store.

Love, Daddy

Test your knowledge of toddler nutrition here!

Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating
Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating
Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating

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Mommy Handles Our Schedule And Budget… We Just Follow

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning as I was dropping you off at school, you wanted to go over to your friend Avery’s daddy and ask him if Avery could hang out with us this Saturday for the free puppet show at the Nashville Library.

He was delighted you asked, as was Avery. His response: “That sounds like fun. Well, let me check with the ‘schedule keeper’ in our house, Avery’s Mommy, and we’ll let you know tomorrow.”

A few minutes later, you asked your friend Madison’s daddy the same thing. His response: “Yeah, we’d like to do that. Let me check with the person in our household who handles our schedule and we’ll see.”

Earlier this week, I was texting my friend Dave about going to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on opening night.

Before texting me back, you guessed it… he checked with the “schedule keeper.”

Sort of like how I recently pointed out that it’s common knowledge that the modern dad does the dishes every night (or a staple household chore of similar value), I’ve observed another sign of a happily married father:

He quickly admits he doesn’t control his schedule.

So, when I’m asked about plans, I know just what to do: I refer that person to Mommy.

You and I both are just along for the ride.

Even as I’m the one driving our family around in the car on the weekends, I never really know where we are going until we’re loading up. Seriously, that’s how it is.

That’s okay by you and me. Wherever we end up, we seem to always have a good time.

And really, it’s the same way with our budget. Mommy handles that for our family.

When I want to purchase something, like tickets for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for example, I run it by Mommy.

It’s not necessarily that I have to ask permission, per se, as it is I… collaborate with the CFO first (Chief Financial Officer).

Whether it’s the schedule or the budget, I’ve learned that pretty much, the answer is yes, but I don’t ultimately make that call independently.

Mommy and I play different roles in our household. I don’t have to worry about planning out our schedules or doing the budget. I do other stuff, which I plan to write to you more about next.

Like I said shortly after Mommy and I got married nearly 6 years ago:

I wear the pants in the relationship… but she tells me which ones to wear.

 

Love,

Daddy

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