Author Archive

My 15 Year Class Reunion/Father’s Day Weekend

Monday, June 16th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It was 15 years ago that I graduated high school. This past Saturday, the day before Father’s Day, I had the privilege of going to my class reunion.

I say “privilege” because Mommy nor your Auntie Dana (my sister) even had a 10 year class reunion. As for my class, we’ve had one every 5 five years; and I have full confidence we’ll continue to have one every 5 years, thanks to the thoughtful dedication of one of our class officers, Tabatha Thomas Greenwood.

(As if you needed me to tell you, that’s me in the white shoes. I say that, because what other guy would be wearing white shoes?)

Obviously, I had a great time, being the nostalgic guy that I am. But it sure helps that in my graduating class of 183 students, they all happen to be cool people I actually want to see and catch up with.

I feel that the people I grew up with since 1986 (the year we started Kindergarten) really do have this special connection with each other. It’s this common interest that we make it a priority to see each other every half a decade. Everybody truly wants to be there; I can tell.

What really stood out to me the most this time, as compared to our last class reunion 5 years ago, was how proud we were of our kids.

Five years ago, you weren’t living on this planet yet. Mommy and I hadn’t even been married a year back in 2009.

But this time, I was able to share in the glory of fellow dads my age who enjoyed talking about our kids more than anything.

It just goes to show you how much becoming a parent really is a blessing in life.

Which, speaking of, the funny thing is you and Mommy were in California this past weekend. I wondered if I needed to write an explanation on a name tag; something like this:

“Hi, I’m Nick Shell. Yes, I promise I have a wife and a son, but they are currently in Sacramento catching up with my wife’s side of the family, who we only see once a year. You see, my wife had more vacation days at work than I did, so she and our son got a head start on our annual family vacation. I’ll be joining them in a few days, though.”

Turns out, no one seemed to think it was that weird of a situation. Granted, there’s definitely some irony in the fact that the very next day was Father’s Day and it would still be days later before I would see you again in Lake Tahoe.

So despite not actually seeing my wife and son on Father’s Day, I still had a great weekend. I missed you and Mommy a lot, though!

Hopefully in 2019, for our 20 year class reunion, you and Mommy will be able to make it.




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I Wasn’t Meant To Be A Bachelor, But Maybe A Hula Hoop Star…

Monday, June 16th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past couple of nights I have come home to notes from Mommy telling me how long to preheat the oven to cook her homemade vegan dinners.

How awesome is Mommy? Seriously!

Let me tell you, life without you and her in the house is so… quiet.

I can hear the refrigerator, the ceiling fan, and even the lights.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a good thing.

That’s my way of saying that there are no “signs of life” other than me in the house.

I should explain; you and Mommy are visiting family out in California for a few days before I get there. (Mommy had more vacation days from work than I did.)

Last Saturday morning, after we packed up your new Okiedog rolling suitcase with several GoGo Squeez pouches and free apps on Mommy’s Kindle, I dropped you both off at the Nashville Aiport.

Since then, I have rediscovered my impressive hula hoop skills, while visiting my side of the family in Alabama: Saturday was also my 15 Year Class Reunion.

But trust me, I am ready to see you and Mommy again.

I just wasn’t meant to be a bachelor. My identity is so closely woven into me being a husband and a dad, that every other part of my life just seems silly.

Everything else seems like I’m just waiting in line for something to happen.

I was meant to be your Daddy. I was meant to be married to Mommy.

Whether it’s fate or not, what I do know is that you and Mommy are parts of my life that unquestionably make sense.

It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Though really, when you think about it, peanut butter and jelly make for an odd combination.

But it’s a combination that works- like you, me, and Mommy.





P.S. Here are my “unboxing” reviews of GoGo Squeez… as well as your new Okiedog dragon rolling suitcase! (Use code “dadblog” for 20% off purchase at Good until 7/31/14.)

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The Lego Movie Is The Boy Version Of Frozen

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It has been well established that you and I are huge fans, as well as advocates, of The Lego Movie.

Not only did I write to you back in November about how excited I was that the movie was coming out, but then in February I wrote a letter to you (which got over 1,200 likes on Facebook) telling all about the two of us going to see your very first movie in a theatre; which obviously, was The Lego Movie.

So that helps explain why I was asked by Lego to do an “unboxing and review” of the Everything Is Awesome Edition of The Lego Movie on my other blog site, Family Friendly Daddy Blog, where I review cars, movies, food, travel destinations, etc.

With a release date of June 17th, it’s just in time for our annual family vacation to California which is coming up soon, so you can watch the movie while on our trip.

Seeing The Lego Movie again, after having recently seen Frozen for the first time as a family, I can’t help but compare the two.

It appears as if The Lego Movie is the boy version of Frozen.

By that, I don’t mean at all that the movies share similar plot lines. Instead, I mean that the themes that The Lego Movie deal with seem a little more relevant to boys; while the themes of Frozen are more feminine, in my opinion.

Maybe the best way to word it is that The Lego Movie is an action movie, while Frozen is a chick flick.

I still can’t get over the fact that in Frozen, the whole thing could have been prevented had the parents of Elsa and Anna, the King and Queen of Arendell, not taught their daughters to close off communication with each other.

Seriously, what normal parents decide to basically lock their daughter in her room for most of her whole childhood because she has a superpower? As the King and Queen, could they seriously not have found some kind of wizard dude to cure her before coming to such an extreme decision?

Frozen is worth all the hype, but it just bothers me that the whole plot was a result of the parents teaching horrible communication skills to their kids, as well as setting them up to hold in their emotions.

Meanwhile with The Lego Movie, while the whole thing is a fantasy, at least it doesn’t hinge on some easily preventable premise.

The plot instead is more like Die Hard and Braveheart, in which a regular guy ends up outsmarting and overpowering the bad guys and their whole system by recruiting average Joes to join the cause of the underdog, therefore freeing his people.

I’m not saying that Frozen is definitely for girls and that The Lego Movie is definitely for boys, but I do feel that your fellow dude friends at your preschool seem a little disconnected while “Let It Go” plays over the speakers at the end of the day when I pick you up.

But if it were “Everything Is Awesome” playing instead, there would be a class of full of little boys jumping around, singing the words at the top of their lungs.




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Daddy, Did You Run Over That Squirrel?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

While sitting in the back seat, sometimes you are able to see squirrels dart out in front of our car as they attempt to frantically cross the street.

Each time that happens, you always ask me, “Daddy, did you run over that squirrel?”

Fortunately, so far, each time, I’ve been able to explain to you that the squirrel crossed the street in time.

Though I’m sure from your perspective in the back seat, it probably appears that I indeed am running over the squirrel.

I’ve yet to hit an animal with you in the car.

In fact, in the past month, I have actually saved the lives of two creatures: a baby bird and a baby turtle.

While mountain biking during my lunch break, I have come across animals that would be destined to become roadkill, or at least “sidewalk kill” if I didn’t intervene.

I just stopped on the sidewalk, picked up the animal, and helped it across to the other side.

So as your Daddy, that’s one of the things you know me for: saving animals.

Even bugs- I try not to kill a bug if I can just throw it outside in the grass. The way I see it, I’m contributing to the circle of life. That bug is some other creature’s dinner. Why should I interfere by killing it and throwing it in the toilet?

You would almost think that as much as I apparently care about animals, being a vegan and all, that we would have a family pet.

But we don’t. You have plenty of stuffed animals who you pretend are not only real but that they  are also able to speak to you.

If we’re lucky, I won’t have to “run over” any squirrels on our drives to and from school. But thank you for always asking. You’re just as concerned as I am.

Sure, roadkill contributes to the circle of life by giving possums and vultures their dinner…

But still, I’d rather that happen more naturally than a vehicle with us inside to be the cause of it.




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The Rise Of Legitimate Dad Ads: Calls For Dad By Dove Men+Care

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

I remember when I first started The Dadabase three years ago on May 23, 2011, one of my main agendas was to positively rebrand fatherhood in media. I was very forthright about it in my very first Dadabase post, “Welcome To The Dadabase“:

“I admit that much of my inspiration as a daddy blogger is to rebrand fatherhood as the glorious thing that it is.  I’m tired of dads being represented by goofy schlubs who don’t remember their wedding anniversary until the last minute and who don’t know how to behave in public without making a mess of something.”

Since May 2011, I have been publically documenting when companies get “dad ads” right (like Robinsons) and when they get them wrong (like Robitussin).

If part of my role in media as a daddy blogger has been to help make it taboo for companies to bash dads and continue portraying them as bumbling idiots, then I feel my job is about done by now.

Just look at this new ad by Dove, which is currently going viral:

The ad proclaims, “For all the times they’ve answered our call… Isn’t it time we celebrate Dads?”

I feel like Dove has finally hammered the final nail in the coffin as far as putting to death this idea that dads are unnecessary or useless, as media has had a habit of portraying things for the past several decades.

For dads, it has always come down to respect. 

Plus, I feel that things are balancing out now to where companies realize they literally can’t afford to bash dads like they use to.

History has now shown us that a diaper company who releases an insulting dad ad must expect major social media backlash. The Huggies backlash of 2012 will forever serve as bookmark in the hard lesson of dad-bashing advertising.

It’s so easy these days for anyone to be labelled a bigot or a racist on Twitter; because after all, it makes news headlines now when it even appears someone might possibly say something out of context that could slightly hint at them being either of those things. (See Stephen Colbert.)

Similarly, there is now an army of very involved dads who won’t hesitate to “Twitter shame” the company if tcompanies dare make the boneheaded move to portray a dad as a bonehead.

Like me, many of these dads immediately publish a blog post about it to spread the word that “so-and-so company” hasn’t gotten the memo than in 2014, you can’t get away with that stuff anymore.

(See ABC’s 20/20 “D Is For Dad And Dumb” segment.)

I think for the companies who are brave (and creative) enough to do a positive dad ad, it will be noticed. Dove is currently serving as the perfect example.

So after 3 years of covering this topic, I feel it’s coming to a resolve. That’s pretty cool. It might be time for me to find a new agenda to focus on…





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