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Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Week 25 (5 months).
If you are a regular reader of my “daddy blog”, then you know my writing style well enough to expect this to be a post about Jack being able to literally put his foot in his mouth- and by the end I will make mention that as he gets older he will metaphorically put his foot in his mouth by not knowing when to stop talking- as often is the case with guys. So surely I will need to throw in a reference to John Mayer’s song, “My Stupid Mouth.” But that would be too predictable. So no metaphors this time around- this entry is simply about my son discovering his toes and sucking on them. No “big picture” ideas today.
Jack has discovered his feet. I don’t know if he realizes they are his feet, though. Like the way a dog chases its tail, providing hilarious entertainment for spectators, so is Jack’s love/hate relationship with his feet. I’m assuming that he thinks his toes are little grub worms, and forgetting that the only “solid food” he is eating right now is crushed up oatmeal and bananas, not grub worms, he decides to attack his toes when they are not looking. And might I add, he gets ‘em every time!
His slobber is noticeably thick this days, so each time he bites his toes with his toothless gums, the end result somehow reminds me of every alien sci-fi movie I’ve never seen, yet still recognize the image for. But aside from the humor of watching Jack sneak up and attack his toes, and aside from the grossness of it, is the surprising element of it: A baby, with the body proportions of the Michelin Man, is limber enough to easily stick his foot to his mouth anytime he wants.
I completely admit that in the middle of typing that last sentence, I had to stick my foot to my mouth to see if I could do it too. I can. But not as effortless as Jack.
Bonus: Last week I was interviewed and quoted in a Mother’s Day article by Megan Mattes, on Parents.com. Click here to see it.
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Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Week 22 (5 months).
I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t want people to know my age. I think it’s because I’m such a chronological person- I love to keep up with dates. It’s important for me to remember where I was and what I was doing at each stage in my life. For the first months of Jack’s life, I was 29. But at 8:37 tonight, I will officially turn 30 years old.
Amidst all the other major age milestones like 16,18, 40, 50, and 60, I vote 30 as the most monumental. Being thirty means not being seen as a kid anymore- it’s a true milestone of adulthood. It means I have now lived through three decades and have made enough mistakes to learn from them and live wiser accordingly. Being 30 means having graduated through a decade of “notknowingness” (my 20′s) and being propelled into a life of definite direction.
I don’t know that I would call this a bittersweet moment. Sure, I’m a deeply nostalgic person so I always miss the past, but I say despite all the blessings so far, it only gets better from here. I couldn’t have known that 30 would come during such a transitional time in my life. Aside from the big move and welcoming my first child into this world, it’s now that my writing career is officially beginning.
Since August 2005, I have been “blogging for free.” (Though actually, during my 4 months of unemployment I was hired to write a few stories in a publication format, like this story I wrote about a local businessman.) But this morning, on my 30th birthday, I will be mailing back two contracts to Parents.com up in New York City for two different stories they assigned me to write. They gave me the titles, now I write the entire bodies. And how did they find me? ”Dad from day one.”
I thank God for this opportunity. And at this point, I still haven’t gone public with what all is going on with my secret “dad from day one” spin-off. But it is why, in case you haven’t noticed, I bought the web domain names “nickshell.com” and “dadfromdayone.com”. It’s part of an important effort to establish my name as an author, as my name will soon be part of a well-trafficked byline. (The reason I originally bought “scenicroutesnapshots.com” is because at the time, in December 2009, “nickshell.com” was already taken- but it recently and conveniently just came available again.)
A few weeks ago on my Facebook wall I asked my friends for their help with naming my upcoming “dad from day one” spin-off. The winner was Diana Jung Taub, who sent her idea to me privately. Though the time isn’t prudent now for me to reveal the name of my spin-off, the time is prudent for you to meet her, on national television. A week from tonight, on April 27th, Diana will be a contestant on the legendary game show, Wheel of Fortune. So go ahead and check to make sure what channel and what time it comes on in your area.
Coincidentally, her son was born just a few weeks before my son Jack William. Diana’s son’s name is Jake William, and like the genetic miracle which my Jack has encountered, her son also has blonde hair and blue eyes, despite the fact that both parents have dark brown hair.
Her son, Jake, again. Not Jack.
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Week 21 (4 months).
What can happen in just a year’s time? Here’s a bit of a candid, behind the scenes look at both the history and the future of “dad from day one”.
It was April 13th, 2010 that I not only officially announced to the world that my wife and I were expecting a baby, but also the day I published the very first post (“She’s Having a Baby”) for my brand new series, “dad from day one”. A year ago, I wasn’t even aware of the term for what I was doing, which now I know is “daddy blogging”. Perceiving that there was a shortage of pregnancy and baby advice from a dad’s perspective out there on the Internet at that time, I decided to be the first to dad in history to publish at least one weekly post for my daddy blog, beginning with the knowledge of the pregnancy. After a few months, once I had established my presence in the daddy blogging world, my wife sent an email to the editor of two major magazines for expecting parents, recommending them to read my blog. One of these magazines expressed interest; the other, we never heard anything back from.
The interested magazine company was American Baby, who decided to feature “dad from day one” in their November 2010 issue, which hit magazine stands in October. A few weeks later, my son Jack was born. Two weeks after that, I worked my last day for my employer of five years in Nashville so that I could move my wife and newborn to my hometown in Alabama so we can raise our son near family. For the next four months, we lived off of savings and eventually had to give ourselves a deadline of three weeks for me to find a job, or we would be forced to move back to Nashville where my employer agreed to take me back- despite all the money, effort, energy, and planning it took to move from Nashville.
We left it in God’s hands as I left my readers in suspense from March 16th until March 24th, as I too was in suspense regarding the future of where my family would live. It was no coincidence or bout of good luck; but instead, a miracle: God provided a marketing and sales job at one of the world’s largest playground equipment companies in the world. Plus, the day after that, I was offered the job (which I obviously took and now enjoy so much), I received an email confirmation from a major publishing company that I had been selected for a regular part-time writing job that will take “dad from day one” to the next level, like a “spin-off”. In a few weeks, I will be ready to go into details about it…
But I will say this: As of yesterday, Parents.com (the website for Parents magazine) assigned me my first huge “non-blog” writing assignment, completely separate from my “big surprise”. I will be writing a Father’s Day article for them and I am extremely excited about it! Soon after, I was approached by a writer who is doing a Mother’s Day article for Parents.com who will be using some of my input for her writing. Can I just say this? I love Parents.com! And my wife and I were already subscribing to their magazine before they discovered me. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The irony of writing this one year anniversary of consistent weekly daddy blogging is that it’s in this post that I must announce that starting today, “dad from day one” is changing to a monthly format, and later into a quarterly format in January 2012. With all the writing I will be doing (as part of my “big surprise”), I have to re-prioritize my few free hours each week. That means less new posts here in general on Scenic Route Snapshots, but the new parenting material I will be writing will be seen by more than the thousand people a day who read my site here. I’m movin’ on up, and you, my dear readers are going with me!
So what can happen in a year? All of the above. The good, the bad, the suspenseful. And thank God for it all.
Thank you, my faithful readers- even if you just recently tuned in. You’re all a part of this. Especially those of you who know me personally and help me out with “dad from day one” topics when I ask you on facebook. You encourage me. And despite already being a positive kind of a guy by nature, encouragement is still a good thing.
A couple of months ago, I briefly mentioned that Jack will be getting a new cousin- my sister and her husband are having their first child. They recently found out it’s a girl! My sister’s due date is July 2nd, which means that her daughter and Jack will be in the same school grade. Here’s the most recent picture of her:
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