Gettin’ my Papa time!

“Why does Papa live so far away?” I asked mom and dad fifteen times en route to Mukwonago. “Will Cha-Cha and Nay-Nay be there?”

Finally, three hours, a couple snores, and one stop at the Outlet mall later, we arrived at Papa Florence’s house! And it’s a good thing we visited… not only do I love gettin’ my Papa time, but there were also two Christmas gifts sitting in his living room, waiting for me to open them! (Papa says Santa must have gotten lost looking for my house.)

After helping Papa open the Christmas presents that I brought him (because he’s a senior citizen, not because I thoroughly enjoy the thrill of unwrapping gifts), we ate a home-cooked meal, exchanged lots of stories, and then got a good night’s rest before heading out to the Mitchell Park Domes the next morning. As you’ll see from the below photos, I was a bit underwhelmed at first.

Luckily, I woke up in time to tour the third dome, where I experienced the magic of Christmas once more before year’s end.

But that wasn’t the end of our fun day. Next, it was off to the Harley-Davidson museum to view and test-drive display-only motorcycles (because my parents said that’s as close as I’ll ever get to owning/riding one).

Then, after a yummy meal at a new smokehouse restaurant, I was disappointed to learn it was time to head back to Melrose. It was another short, but always-wonderful visit. In fact, before getting myself settled into the carseat that would become my bed for the next 190 miles,  I repeatedly asked, “Why are we leaving Papa at his house?”

Clearly, I miss my Papa Florence already.

3rd Christmas (2016)

Darn! The most wonderful time of the year is now behind us. (Good thing a new year is starting soon.) All I wanted for this Christmas was “chocolate” and “a cuckoo clock.” Minus the cuckoo clock, I got everything I asked for and more! But, this holiday isn’t really about what was left under the tree for me (a Yamaha snowmobile sled!!!)… It’s actually about love, spending time with family, giving to others, and reflecting on the wonders of the season, like:

  1. Adding a new song to my repertoire: Jingle Bells (“Hey!”)
  2. Improving on my gift-opening skills
  3. Experiencing my first Hi-Fi cocktail (7-up soda in a fancy glass)
  4. Having a better sense of who this “Santa” character is
  5. Learning about Garrett & Morgan’s engagement (Congrats!)
  6. Mastering the tricky art of blowing my nose (Exhale, not inhale.)
  7. Believing in the magical power of the internet: Everytime something is broken or has dead batteries, I proclaim, “It needs the internet!” (I learned about the internet through unsuccessful attempts at watching YouTube videos while driving through rural areas.)
  8. Surviving an entire day without a nap, while remaining grumpy-free (because who wants to miss any precious minutes of Christmas?!)
  9. Posing imperfectly for too-many photo ops
  10. Embracing my silly, goofy, always-happy, too-cute self before passing out in Mom & Dad’s fleece-insulated bed (sure to have a Christmas hangover in the A.M.!)

Snapshots from Christmas Eve

Christmas Day Memories

Dear School

Dear School,

You know how much I enjoy you, right? So please don’t be offended when I say I’m hardly missing you right now. It’s not you, it’s me. I think I might be in love with something else: Christmas Vacation. We’ve been spending a lot of time together, making memories that are unmatchable, like:

practicing Yoga with my Dad,

sledding down big hills like a champ,

eating making Christmas cookies at the Bake Shoppe,

playing with all my toys at the SAME time,


consuming chocolate on a daily basis,

hiding-and-seeking whether you’re ready or not,


performing puppet shows for sold-out audiences,

learning how to be like dad,

and knocking over dominoes

while living in pajamas almost 24-7!

But please don’t be upset; this isn’t a break-up. In fact, I would like to see you again. I just need more time to figure things out with Christmas Vacation. In the meantime, I hope we can still be friends?

Sorry I’m not sorry,

30 days

Hi. My name is Jaeger Amari and I’ve been diaper-free for 30 days.

I mean, I still wear diapers at bedtime, but most mornings it’s completely dry when I wake up, so that doesn’t really count.

[Insert applause here]

I’ve had ZERO accidents during the day, including naps. Except for that time mom picked me up from school and noticed I was wearing different pants than the ones she dressed me in:

Mom: “Oh no, buddy! Did you have an accident?”
Me: “Yes, I fell in the toilet!”
Mom: “Oh, good! I thought maybe you wet your pants.”

Really, mom? What does a guy have to do to get some sympathy for falling into the toilet? It was a bit traumatic, but don’t worry… I’ll only be scarred for the rest of my life.

Still, I enjoy being a diaper-free member of society. But even though it’s liberating and empowering to wear underpants, I’m not ashamed of my diaper past. Those Pampers got me through some stinky times, so they will always be a part of my story.

Basketball Season!

‘Tis the season to watch basketball games!! I’m becoming quite a fan of the Melrose-Mindoro 8th Grade Girls, Varsity Girls and the Varsity Boys teams, but my absolute favorite player is #4: Ashlee Nicolai! She’s definitely the MVP from my perspective. But Honorable Mention goes to the Concession Stand staff, who graciously exchange their Skittles and popcorn for my Dad’s paper notes. (I’m definitely getting the better end of that deal!) I can’t wait for the next opportunity to eat Skittles basketball game!!

All aboard the….

Question: What’s better than trains?!

Answer: Holiday Trains!!!!

…Even if it requires braving below-freezing temperatures, and even if the train is running 40 minutes late, and even if the Amtrak train sneaks in first, getting my hopes up before whizzing by at 70 mph, and even if you can’t tell how ecstatic I was in the below pictures because my entire face quickly became numb…

The answer is still: Holiday Trains!!!!

Rotary Lights & Hibachi Grills!

I usually like a good campfire, but not when it’s on the dinner table, inches away from my signature eyelashes. Yikes! Is that supposed to happen? This was my first experience with a Hibachi Grill restaurant (Shogun Sushi & Hibachi) and the open flame terribly concerned me. I was on the verge of a meltdown (literally and figuratively), but luckily, the delicious food and great company offset my impulse to stop, drop, and roll.

After I survived this near-death experience, we continued the night with mom and dad’s college friends by enjoying a festive walk through La Crosse’s Rotary Lights! LOVED IT!

So, if you’re looking for a super cool way to get fired up for the Christmas season, check out Rotary Lights and Hibachi Grills! You might cry and shiver a little bit, but you won’t be disappointed. 

P.S. Mom said Yes!