Updated: Jan 27, 2018
Warning! Teenager in the house! Brooke is now 13. Honestly, that’s taking a little while to completely sink in. I’m not sure why. I guess because I’ve seen her go from a little helpless infant who just lays there and looks at you like “who is this big dark guy with the caterpillar eyebrows that keeps staring at me” to this beautiful, independent, talented, smart, and OPINIONATED, young woman in the blink of an eye. And she now looks at me like “who is this big dark guy with the dad jokes”! I purposely tease her now and say things like, “Ok sweetie, I called your teacher and she says I can walk you into your classroom, to your desk and carry your books for you. And your teacher says I can wear a T-shirt so all your friends can stare at your dads’s tattoos! You won’t be embarrassed right????” It drives her nuts, but she knows I’m teasing. Making Brooke laugh out loud is the ultimate challenge folks, which is why I love to joke with and tease her like that. I love that girl, but she's a tough nut to crack sometimes.
Beni Hana is a popular birthday spot for my family because of all the children in our family. We have Brooke, Emma Kelly, Cole and Dylan and my sister, Amanda, has 2 girls, my sweet nieces, Violet and Beatrice. Hibachi chefs keep their attention and keep them entertained which allows the adults to have a good time too. But I’m gonna lie, I like it there alot. The food is so good and I caught the shrimp in my mouth this time! The Volcano and Choo Choo train are always crowd pleasers and my family really whoops it up when the chef does one of his bits. My niece Beatrice was the only child to wear the Beni Hana chef’s hat. She wouldn’t even take it off when my sister Amanda was putting her in the car. Too funny.
I took Brooke on a one-on-one date on Saturday night which in my opinion is important to do with all the children from time to time. They will open up and say things and ask questions that they wouldn’t say or ask with other children or adults around. It’s a great bonding experience and I always have fun hearing about the latest trends in pre-teen footwear, what Brooke thinks about the music scene nowadays, what she thinks about boys in Jr. High, or the tests she’s secretly stressing about. I find it interesting that she likes to know what TV shows were popular when I was a kid, or what music was like. In 2 years, 1990 will be 30 years ago people. It’s crazy how fast the big time machine moves on and on!!
So the next day, Sunday, Kellie throws the big swap party. Two dozen ladies, probably two dozen bottles of wine...yeah... it’s actually a pretty good time, but I had promised EK and Brooke that I would take them for mani-pedis for Brooke’s birthday weekend. So we stayed for about the first hour of the swap party, then went over to a local nail salon to get pampered.
And pampered did we get….the girls told me they wanted “NextGen” nail jobs. I just assumed this was some special type of polish, I had no idea. I guess I should have asked for more details, but I didn’t because I knew Kellie took the girls to get NextGen for the wedding. So I knew it was legit, I just didn’t realize that they are fake nails and that the are expensive. Did I mention fake and expensive? Hey, nothing wrong with fake and expensive sometimes, but in this case, the two girls are 13 and 11. So my bad #1. As they are getting NextGen’ed to the nines, I’m laying there with 3 ladies tending to me. And I think they sensed I was a yes-man with a champaign taste (but a beer wallet unbeknownst to them). I told them I wanted the cheapest services on the menu, spa-manicure and spa-pedicure. But they were pretty good salespeople. By the time the girls were finished with their mani-pedi’s I was STILL laying there with 4 warm bags of purple liquid on all my limbs. Another lady gently worked my neck and another was massaging my calves with this cucumber exfoliation rub. Pampering is called pampering for a reason. How about a grand total of $250.00 for all this luxury!!!! It was fun, but I had no idea it would be that expensive. My bad #2. I wasn’t upset, but I’ll just use way more caution next time I go to a nail salon with two eager girls and even more eager salespeople!
Another highlight of the week was meeting the great Emmitt Smith at a fundraiser kickoff on Wednesday night. I don’t really get nervous around public figures or celebrities, but I was nervous around Emmitt. Maybe because he was a sports hero of mine and I followed him his whole legendary career. I think I did a good job of just hanging out with him without being a fan boy. When you look at a guy his size (he’s not that big, about 5’9” 200 lbs when he played) and realize he ran for over 18,000 yards in the NFL with extremely athletic, big, strong, fast men trying to stop him, it just amazes me beyond belief. It’s like he was Superman or the Bionic Man. And I watched him do it his entire incredible career. He was the greatest I ever saw play with my own eyes.
But I was really pleased to know that Emmitt the person is a really cool, laid-back, fun, pleasant individual to be around. Before he went up to speak he was over in a corner by himself mouthing the words to Bruno Mars' 24K Magic which was funny to watch. He’s done incredible work with his wife Pat and together they lead Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities which does wonderful things for children. Anyone that helps children and Veterans in my book is ok. I’d like to do more of that myself in the future. Talk to you soon!