PB and J Anyone

Everyone says it. Kids grow up way too fast. They’ll be out of diapers before you know it, talking back with a vengeance within a blink of an eye and staying up late if you dare. If you’re not careful and you take too long doing the laundry, they might just make a PB and J.

Time flies by and to see your kids grow up is very important. To be part of that growth is even more important. Recently our daughter has mastered the art of making PB and J. Bit of a mess, but it’s mastery in my mind. It’s just a little jelly in the peanut butter jar. With the help of a can opener, she’ll whip up a mean tuna salad. Mayo, spicy mustard and a dash of relish. She’ll pour her own milk, fix a desert and be off and playing again in a flash. Well, not really a flash, she’s the worlds slowest eater. But you get the idea. She’s nearing full independence.

It’s these moments I realize how much we can miss. Where did the time go? When did she grow up? The time went into teaching values, morals and ethics. It was spent teaching the value of money and the importance of saving for something special. It was time devoted to reading and homework. Time talking about school and friendships. All these, in no particular order are important, However, time, it slips away and sometimes we need to get back to our roots.

Tonight was that night. We did what we use to do. We danced for hours, played tag and just goofed off. She didn’t watched TV, play video games or mess with the Nabi. Just me and the kid being ourselves. Or course, we got hurt, had bruises, needed ice packs. But a hug and a dance and a high five fixed all that. I’m not sure if it’s just me getting older, or she is growing and getting heavier, but damn I’m tired of swinging her around the dance floor.

My challenge to parents with young kids, get back to your roots. Go have fun, be creative and make memories. Do what you used to do and make them smile. Even if it’s playing tag inside the house, do it. Before you know it, you’ll be watching your kids grow into parents. You’ll want them to instill these values as well. The value of fun, being young and making memories.

Now, somewhere is a nice cold Stout in the fridge. I need to forget this back pain.

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My Little Tree Identifier

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With the holiday season and all the time off from work due to weather, I have been getting stir crazy around the house. It was time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weekend. My daughter and I packed up, grabbed some warm clothes and headed out to our local state park.

We typically go to Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA. We hike along checking out all the beauty the park has to offer. As we hike, we try to identify as many things as possible. Trees, creeks, moss, deer, birds, ferns…just to name a few. She has become quite the outdoor expert.

We stopped briefly to take some photos of some trees. I see one that is beyond it’s prime. Old, weathered and losing it’s bark. It once was a tiny seed. Now, it has germinated and standing tall and proud. Years of cold winters, snow storms, hurricanes and 100 degree days has done its damage. It wasn’t a giant Poplar or a massive Pine, but something else. I asked the kid to identify it.

“That’s a Dogwood dad”

I was shocked. Had we gone over Dogwoods before? How could she possibly know? I asked her how she knew.

“You taught me dad. Look at the bark, it’s a Dogwood”

Well I’ll be damned. She got it right and even more so, she retained that info from a previous trip.

Ok smarty pants, what’s this tree?

“Gum tree. You can see Gum balls around it and in the tree”

Check mark!

I’m impressed. She loves pointing out Cedars and letting me know they would make great poles for the hops yard. Love this kid! Pine trees and Holly trees are easy for her. Identifying trees without leaves in the winter is awesome for a 7 year old. Ok, enough bragging about the kid, but you gotta admit, could you identify a Gum tree in the winter?

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My Best Friend

I just wanted to take the time to introduce everyone to my best friend.  We all have one.  Someone you can count on.  That person you love spending time with regardless of the situation. A friend who makes you laugh and brings a warm smile to your face each time you see them. That person for me is a wonderful young lady.

I am lucky enough to enjoy breakfast with her everyday.  We mix it up on occasion.  Mostly, we have breakfast at my place.  Sometimes we head out before our morning commute and pick up a biscuit or two and chow down on the way to work.

Our typical commute together consist of playing games, singing songs on the radio or simply people watch at the intersection. The morning commute to work is always a blast with her.

After a long day at work, we meet back up again, commuting back to where we met. I ask how her day was, she ask the same.  We fill each other with all the details.  Who said what, who did this, who is not feeling well, you know the typical water cool conversation. By the time we get to our destination we typically decide that we want to hang out for a bit longer.

She sometimes runs errands with me.  Going to the bank. Picking up some groceries.  If not, we may chose to go for a hike at the park or head over to the animal museum to visit with nature.

On weekends when we are both not busy, we tend to hang out even more.  She is a big help at the Hops Yard.  Always willing to volunteer to pull weeds or plant more hop bines under the trellis.  She will even help out at the greenhouses on the weekends I have to work.  Again, loves to plant flowers and get dirty with us guys.

Every once in a while she goes running with me.  She loves the trails.  We pack some water bottles and food to snack on afterwards.  Always planning our next run.  She’ll even hit up the pond with me to go fishing.  We could spend hours down there together.  Shes always bragging when she catches more fish than me.

A few times we have gone on road trips together.  Just the two of us and our dogs.  We typically head to NC to visit with close friends.  Nothing is better than a weekend away with a good friend.

All this fun we have.  All the adventures we go on.  All the time we spend together.  Its amazing that this perfect lady of a friend is simply a 6 year old girl.  My daughter.  My best friend. My sidekick.

Nothing makes me smile more when we are walking together and she grabs my hand with her tiny hand.  She tugs my arm, looks up at me and says…

“You’re my best friend daddy!”

Damn right kid! You’re MY best friend!

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