Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

6 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Dear Jack,

For Valentine’s Day, on your own merit, you decided to make your sister a special Valentine out of construction paper: a pink kitty. That was very thoughtful of you! She loved it.

As for you, I’d say you had a pretty big Valentine’s Day. Apparently, for some reason your friend Zeke didn’t end up giving a candy Valentine to everyone in your class, so he decided it was just the same to give you three; which saved him the trouble of having to get all his Valentine’s to the right place. Lucky you!

And speaking of, your classmate Haley gave you a very special Valentine: a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I’d say it’s quite likely you were the only one in your class to receive such a Valentine from her. You must have made some impression on Haley this year in class…

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Also, I have to point out your cool picture you drew of yourself opening your Valentine’s. It is right on!

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

In your Valentine’s box from us, Mommy and I gave you exactly what you wanted: Some Pokemon cards and Yo-kai Watch coins. You are so into those things right now!

At night after we put you to bed, we let you stay up a little while longer, as you study your Pokemon character book, by the light of the desk lamp. And every morning on the drive to school, you study your Pokemon cards.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Apparently, the studying pays off, because you can accurately pronounce the names of just about all 152 Pokemon characters in your book!

It’s safe to say, we know what’s going to be in your Easter basket. Amazingly though, you haven’t asked us for the actual 20 dollar Yo-kai Watch that “reads” the coins.

I love seeing how interested you are into this typical 6 year-old stuff.

It was a very fun Valentine’s Day!



Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

Dear Jack,

We’ve now lived in our new house in Spring Hill, Tennessee for two years. One of our missions we just never got around to was to explore the cleared land across the street from the movie theatre. Originally, I had planned to shoot an episode of our superhero web-series, Jack-Man, there. But it just never happened.

So this past Sunday, instead of making you take a nap, I took you to the site we’ve been curious about for so long now. I couldn’t have known how much it would end up meaning to you.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

After all, I’ve taken you to some amazing places in nature, like Cloudland Park last summer near Chattanooga. But in the likeness of how kids often find more excitement from the cardboard box a gift comes in, instead of the actual gift itself, you were quite fascinated by the huge pile of red dirt that is slowly being developed across from the Spring Hill movie theatre.

It is clear that our father-son bond is most naturally strengthened when we are out in nature. That’s our thing. We can make a big deal of just dirt and rocks. We’ve always been good at that.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

You had forgotten your winter coat at school, so Mommy had you wear your oversized Columbia fleece pullover, as you brought along a “papered airplane” to fly over the canyons, and ultimately, for me to drop big chunks of dirt on top of.

“Wow, Daddy! We’re up so high!” you kept proclaiming.

Despite just being across the street from the hundreds of people of at the cinema, it was like you and I were in our own isolated world. You agreed it was kind of like being on Mars.

Amazingly, we made the drive home in less than 15 minutes. Not bad for travelling back from another planet.



Dear Jack: Our Trip to Mars

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

9 months.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly,

As I carry you around through the house on a daily basis, as if my arms are your own personal flying throne like C-3PO had in Return of the Jedi, I am constantly (and perhaps involuntarily) streaming a series of praise phrases to you.

One that I catch myself saying a lot is, “What’s Little Sweetie gonna do today?”

This is a fact: You are a particularly sweet strawberry-blonde 9 month old daughter. Even when you’re mad, it’s simply hilarious. But you really only get upset about funny stuff.

Like last night, Mommy handed you over to me after she realized you had too much energy to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. So I laid down on your bedroom floor, and just let you repeatedly crawl over me. You loved proving to yourself you can cross the terrain of my chest, time after time.

But after nearly 30 minutes, you had finally worn yourself out. It was like you got upset that your arms were too tired to pull yourself up and that your head keep falling on me too.

You got mad because you ultimately had too much fun.

I always love to see “what Little Sweetie is going to do today.”

One of the things you love to do is to take a ride on my Simply Fit board, which I ordered after seeing it featured on an episode of Shark Thank. You think it’s normal to hold on and get a tour of the bonus room upstairs.

I never had to teach you to do this. You just saw it one day, and then looked at me as if to day, “Okay, Daddy, I’m ready to ride it!”

It makes me wonder how many other infants appreciate the thrill of their Daddy pulling them around on a Simply Fit board.

You and I both like to keep things interesting. We’re a good match.



Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Games

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack,

Whatever you’re into and at given moment, Holly is always eager to be invited to the action. She sees you as an important source of knowledge, based on your 6 years of life experience, along with your adventurous boyhood perspective.

Last Sunday, all it took was me finishing a bottle of nearly expired cold-pressed juice from Kroger, with the “Woo-Hoo!” sticker on it to celebrate the savings.

Before I could make it over the recycling bag in the pantry, you saw the potential: “Daddy, can I have that bottle?”

You began tossing it into the air, finding enjoyment as it would bounce on the hardwood floor each time it landed. It didn’t take long for Holly to crawl over from the living room and plant herself right into the middle of the action.

She also could was able to see the wonder of an empty bottle flying through the air.

I know you aren’t aware of this, but it’s little events like that when you teach your little sister about life. She is learning from you. She is taking those lessons seriously.

As her brother, there are certain unique things you are able to teach her that I just don’t have an eye for. It’s those kind of reindeer games that remind me that you and your sister live in a version of the world where excitement can be found in things like… garbage.

Her already playful spirit is only being enhanced by your daily influence. There is a reason she immediately stops what she’s doing whenever you walk by. There is a reason she has a reverence for your silliness.

Because to her, you can offer life lessons that only come from an only brother. While she definitely loves her Mommy and Daddy, she looks at you in a way like she looks at no one else.

You’re a really big deal to her.



Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack: Your Parapharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Thank God.

It is because of God’s grace that this story has a happy ending.

You are okay now, but it was one intense weekend.

Saturday morning Mommy left your baby sister and me home while you two were planning on picking up the groceries (as our pantry and fridge were empty) and then to the doctor for a check-up regarding your Strep Throat (as you missed nearly every day of school last week because of it).

What was expected to be a forgettable doctor’s visit actually resulted in them sending you immediately to the Emergency Room in Nashville; which is about an hour’s drive from where we live in Spring Hill.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

As Mommy called to tell me this urgent news, she also informed me that her phone didn’t get charged the night before, so she only had 17% charge on her battery.

Six hours passed after that brief and urgent call, with me not knowing any news.

As the afternoon proceeded, the hunger started kicking in- not to mention, I realized that Grandma’s plane would be landing soon at the Nashville Airport; as she had coincidentally planned for visit for the next two weeks, all the way from Sacramento.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

It was about that time Mommy called me, having found access to a phone charger at the hospital, and informed me that you would have to stay overnight and possibly have surgery the next morning. Your Strep Throat had yielded a potentially fatal condition:

So I quickly packed an overnight bag for myself and a diaper bag for your sister, and miraculously made it to the airport in time to pick up Grandma, even with an unexpected trip to the gas station as I remembered I only had 1/8 a tank of gas in my car.

From there, I had to find my way to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. It may not seem like a big deal, but I had never driven there from the airport; only from our house, coming from the other direction on I-65.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Mommy called me and reminded me to pick up some dinner, since none of us had eaten in nearly 12 hours. Fortunately, I was able to stop at a Qdoba and pick up some burritos for us while Grandma stayed in the car with your baby sister.

Once we finally arrived, I traded places with Mommy, so she could take Grandma and your sister all the way back to Spring Hill.

That surgical holding room became our living quarters for the next two days. And despite the circumstances, you and I made the most of it. I enjoyed the time we got to spend together, just hanging out- something I know we don’t get to do enough of.

You ended up not needing the surgery, as the antibiotics in your IV helped reduce your neck paralysis enough over the weekend.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

I love you so much.

Crazy enough, I never had time to be afraid. I only had enough time to take care of you. And pray.

Monday afternoon you were able to come home- and by Wednesday, you were able to go back to school and I could easily see you were proud to go back.

And even though you never said it out loud, you were so happy to see your sister again. Neither of us had seen her in over two days, actually.

Dear Holly: It’s So Rewarding to See You When I Come Home

“Can I hold Holly, Daddy?” is now like your new catch-phrase.

Thank God you are okay. I just keep saying that over and over.



Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

BroadBandTV Corp (BBTV) Partnership Testimonial, A Year Later: 800% Subscriber Increase, But…

A year ago, I announced that I had just partnered with BBTV, in attempt to grow my YouTube channel. I explained that after one year, I would review my findings here on my blog.

Since then, I have been receiving several emails daily from other YouTubers who have been approached by BBTV, wanting to find out how it’s going with my partnership program.

Today, I release my testimonial to the public.

Fact: A year ago, I barely had over 100 subscribers. Now, I have over 900.


When you hear that, it may seem logical to believe that my 800% increase in YouTube subscribers had at least something to do with my BBTV partnership.

Instead, it had everything to do with me making an excessive amount of videos about the topics people were already searching for on YouTube.

Further into my year-long commitment with BBTV, I expressed concern to BBTV that I did not understand what they were doing on their end to help me; like promoting my videos, which is something they led me to believe over the phone.

Indirectly, BBTV ultimately acknowledged they had not done anything to actually partner with me, other than to provide services on the side which I wasn’t even aware of; as well as take $40 of my growing revenue.

Here in the following email excerpts, I have placed some of the phrases in bold font in an effort to highlight the storyline:

You replied on 11/29/2016 2:10 AM.


The date I would choose to cancel would be December 28th, which is 30 days prior to January 27th. So in about 2 months from now, I must make the decision to remain or cancel.

While I recognize my number of subscribers has increased from 130 to 658, I am having difficulty in understanding what they increase has to do with BBTV or the agreement I signed regarding HooplaKidz.

I need your help in understanding how I’ve benefited from BBTV, considering the percentage of revenue being streamed.

Thank you for your input.


Nick Shell

Ultimately, their response was to deflect that fact I signed an agreement under the assumption BBTV was directly associated with HooplaKidz, and instead, focused on their services; which were not the reason I partnered with them:

Nov 29, 2:18 PM PST

Hi Nick!

We understand that you are deciding on whether or not to continue your agreement with us. Out of curiosity, did you have a chance to make use the services that we offer our creators?

Here’s a brief list just in case:

Catalyst Chrome Extension – Our newest technology product that allows the optimization of your video metadata built right into your YouTube Video Manager. Similar services can cost up to $50 / month!

Epoxy – A platform that connects all your social media together and makes it easier to share your videos and engage your fans.

Epidemic Sound – A full library of over 28,000 Copyright free tracks, and 30,000 Copyright free sound effects that our partners can download and edit into their videos.

Showbox BETA – A web based video editor which, after a short tutorial, allows you to produce studio quality videos without any additional software or prior expertise. Check out the ShowBox Youtube Channel for examples of videos created with Showbox!

Let us know your thoughts,
Partner Experience Team

So I responded…


I appreciate you following up with me on this. No, I was not aware of these services. However, I feel these services are not what the agreement I signed was largely based on. Instead, I specifically signed an agreement based on HooplaKidz and what I believed would help me get exposure with a larger audience. I am having difficulty in understanding how my growth since January is related to BBTV; since I absolutely have not utilized these services; nor was I aware of them. Nor am I aware of BBTV ever promoting my videos as I believed would happen.

My understanding is that on December 28th (which is 30 days prior to a year of me signing the agreement), if I send an email requesting to end the partnership, as well as to send the request to unlink on YouTube, that I will have officially done my part to leave BBTV. Is that accurate?

I want to make sure I don’t miss a technicality and automatically renew for another year.

Please know I am very grateful for you taking time to help me today. I too work in Customer Service (specifically, the retention department for my company) for a living so I don’t take you for granted as you assist me on this.


Nick Shell

Just to be clear, there is good reason for me to have believed that BBTV was actually connected to HooplaKidz TV, as BBTV’s original recruitment email from January 2016 predicted:

Tue 1/26/16, 6:20 PM


Hi Nick! We absolutely love your channel!

We have a business opportunity that we would like to present to you from HooplaKidz Tv. We’re the highest rated kids and family entertainment company online and we would like to offer you the resources and tools to help you grow your channel.

Please let me know if you’re interested in discussing our proposal.

Thanks for your time, we look forward to hearing from you.

Talent Partnerships, BroadbandTV

Notice how what you see in print refers to “offer you the resources and tools to help you grow your channel”…

Yet the phone calls that were part of the recruitment process were focused on BBTV promoting my videos as well as having me to believe that HooplaKidz, not simply BBTV, was personally interested in me.

That was not the case. Instead, the HooplaKidz name apparently served as a storefront for BBTV to sell their partnership to me.

So in the end, BBTV probably only made around $130 off of me during the course of the year. Whereas now I’m making over $40 in monthly YouTube revenue, I had only made $40 total before partnering with them.

In other words, there wasn’t much money for them to make off of me for most of the year. Only in these last several month did my subscribership lead to them to take their 40% cut from my $40 monthly earnings.

So in the end, it cost me about $130 total for me to learn (and teach you) that BBTV had nothing to do with my subscribership increasing by 90%.

I just simply made 3 videos everyday about the topics I found people cared the most about. There is no proof that BBTV did anything to promote my channel, as I was led to believe.

Please know I am not angry or bitter. In fact, I have a feeling that my testimonial on this blog, as well as the accompanying video, could possibly eventually make up for the $130 or so that I invested in them.

In closing, I will point out BBTV is comprised of very nice people to work with. However, also note that you must proactively end the agreement before the one year mark…

Otherwise, they automatically lock you into another year. This is not something they made me aware of; I only found out due to research on my end.

That’s everything I know. That’s what my partnership with BBTV has taught me over the past year.

Now, as for you, do what you think is right for your YouTube Channel. This information is simply my personal testimonial.

Here’s the video version of this blog post:

Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

Dear Jack,

I experience guilt over you. I don’t get to spend enough time with you.

However, it’s not an issue of choice. It’s not that I could be spending time with you but am choosing not to.

Instead, it’s that in order to make a living for our family, Mommy and I both have to work. That’s nothing unique. That’s a normal problem.

But it presents a lifestyle in which despite living in a wonderful neighborhood and you being able to attend one of the best schools in the Nashville area, Mommy and I have to spend so much of our time commuting- and therefore, you spend time at “before care” in addition to being at Kindergarten most of the day.

During the week, my time is so limited with you. Every morning, I get you ready for school and drop you off. Every night we eat dinner together and then I get you ready for bed. All time combined, that’s barely an hour.

So really, it’s mainly just the weekends where I get to spend time with you. Granted, we’re having to buy groceries, clean the house, run errands, and go to church.

Not to mention, I’m constantly taking care of your baby sister when we’re all together.

I’m not able to pay you the attention I want. You don’t demand it. But I’m not able to give you what I want.

That’s why I treasure our quality time together. That’s why I make the most of it.

I experience guilt over this. I don’t know what else I can do though.

This is simply what I know as being a modern-day American parent who works full time and lives in a commuter’s community.

I wish could be with you more. You’re worth so much more than I can give you.