Dear Holly: Bear Hugs with Papa at Thanksgiving

1 year, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

In the midst of the four days we spent at Nonna and Papa’s house in Alabama for Thanksgiving, one afternoon you decided to just lay low with Papa on the couch.

You had discovered the giant D.A.R.E. teddy bear wearing a Domino’s Pizza uniform. (Your Aunt Dana won it back in the early 1990s when she was the winner of a coloring contest.)

The bear hugs started with Papa pretending the bear was attacking you, but it didn’t take long before the look on your face gave it away: You were almost tired enough to take a nap.

So after one of the many times the bear jumped on top of you, smashing you in between Papa and the bear, you decided just to take advantage of the situation by cuddling up to both of them.

I actually started wondering if at some point you would just fall asleep, resting your little head on the giant bear’s shoulder. For anyone walking by you in the living room, there was an unspoken level of respect:

Just let Holly hang out with Papa and the bear.

Had this all happened a little earlier in the day, it could have been a 20 minute wrestling match with the bear; making its way all the way to the floor.

But no.

Your vibes attract your tribe. Therefore, you defeated the giant bear though cuddles alone.

Sometimes the best way to win a fight is with a big hug.

The bear was no match for your sweetness.

And not only did you win the fight against the bear, but you also won the fight against giving me a reason to take you upstairs for your afternoon nap.

Enough chill time was had with Papa and the bear, so I just let serve as your 2nd nap that day.

Love,

Daddy

 

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 7-11

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 7-11

In my free time this past weekend, I was editing and publishing the newest 5 webisodes of my kids’ show. That wraps up the total of 8 of them that I filmed over Christmas weekend with my dad and brother-in-law.

Now with nearly a dozen webisodes, I feel I have enough collection of material to submit to the major networks, as I mentioned previously.

After watching the finished product with my son this weekend, I am confident that children will really be engaged by Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. At this point, it’s just a matter of being able to expose kids to my show.

Here’s an overview of what this newest batch of webisodes is about:

Webisode 7: Paulie the Puppy– When Uncle Nick decides to hike a new trail, it leads him to an empty old building and a mysterious barking sound.

Webisode 8: Pokey the Pot-Bellied Pig– Uncle Nick must figure out a way to cross the river to save the little pot-bellied pig who is stuck on the other side.

Webisode 9: Ralph the Red Panda– While hiking later in the evening, Uncle Nick discovers a rare animal as it begins getting dark outside.

Webisode 10: Slither the Snake– Freddie the Fox gets trapped by a hungry snake at the top of a large rock. It’s Uncle Nick to the rescue!

Webisode 11: Barry the Bear– When a scary-looking bear is soon in the Enchanted Forest, Uncle Nick decides to investigate; leading to a lesson about not judging a bear by his cover.

Barry the Bear was first introduced 4 months ago in my other series, Jack-Man:

There are elements in Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest that are unique to the field of children’s entertainment. In the likeness of a real uncle, I begin each show by trying to guess what color the viewer is thinking of, which is by default educational.

Next, I engage their curiosity by introducing them to a different, old trinket of mine. In other words, each webisode is infused with a touch of ongoing mystery.

Before heading outside for the adventure segment, I sing a few catchy (original) jingles to get the viewers excited about going outside in the cold.

Thanks for supporting Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. My plan is to film at least 11 more webisodes; some of which will feature both the back story of Barry the Bear, as well as his adaptation as a newcomer to the forest.

Dear Jack: Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted” (Pregnancy Announcement Video)

4 years, 10 months.

Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted” (Pregnancy Announcement Video)

Dear Jack,

On Thursday we finally officially revealed to the world that you are going to be a big brother.

But the day before, I published Webisode 22 of Jack-Man, “Tin Roof Rusted,” which announced that Jack-Man is going to be a big brother; it even showed the sonogram.

It is our “pregnancy announcement video.”

For over 24 hours, our video was live on YouTube, having been promoted on Facebook and Twitter as well. But it flew under the radar.

It wasn’t until Thursday morning that our news started spreading, but I embedded our video in that post so everyone see it which definitely helped bring up traffic to it.

I just loved the idea of incorporating our family’s pregnancy announcement in a video format; especially in our already established web series.

Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the help of your teacher, Ms. Aimee Cornelius, who served as a “camera woman.”

With me in full costume, it was impossible to both direct and film the webisode.

In “Tin Roof Rusted,” things pick up immediately from the point the previous webisode left off; with Vegan Bear taking the 2015 Toyota Corolla for a drive, with Jack-Man in the back seat.

Once they arrive back in the driveway, Jack-Man decides to check the mail, only to discover a mysterious letter which he can’t see to keep his hands on…

You have already asked me when we can do our next Jack-Man video that features Vegan Bear.

Even though you obviously know it’s just me in that costume, I think on some level, interacting with the character of Vegan Bear helps to sustain your imagination enough to believe you are actually friends with a real life mutant vegan bear.

But it’s just me. It’s father and son bonding via a silly costume and a silly video.

Works for us.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Webisode 21 of Jack-Man, “Vegan Bear Scare”

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: Webisode 21 of Jack-Man, “Vegan Bear Scare”

Dear Jack,

We attempted to film webisodes 21 and 22 of Jack-Man on Saturday morning… but the cold, the light rain, and the realized need for a 3rd person to serve as cameraman and props holder got in the way of that.

Fortunately, your Pre-K teacher Ms. Aimee heard about what was going on and saved the day.

She came over on Sunday, when the weather was slightly better, and we filmed both webisodes back to back. There’s no way we could have done this without Ms. Aimee’s help:

In “Vegan Bear Scare”, we introduced the new character, Vegan Bear. Originally, I intended for him to be a gorilla, but the suit was too expensive.

By default, this is our Halloween episode, as I admit: Vegan Bear is by far the creepiest villain Jack-Man has ever encountered.

The theme song to Jack-Man states this about the series:

“Jack-Man knows just where to hit ‘em, when it comes to creepy villains.

He packs a punch and eats a healthy lunch.”

Perhaps this webisode capitalizes on that concept more than ever, with such a creepy villain and such a focus on healthy eating.

Vegan Bear explains where vegans get their protein and nutrients, from 6 sources:

Veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

Ultimately, “Vegan Bear Scare” is technically the 1st half of the story; as Webisode 22, “Tin Roof Rusted,” will immediately pick up where Webisode 21 left off.

But I decided to release them as 2 separate webisodes because of their unique content.

Also, both of these webisodes feature Vegan Bear driving Jack-Man in the 2015 Toyota Corolla!

Here’s a piece of trivia about “Vegan Bear Scare”: it’s the only other webisode, besides Webisode 2, that doesn’t feature Green Meanie.

That’s in part because I wanted all the “villain focus” to be on Vegan Bear, not Green Meanie. The other reason is because Green Meanie shows up on the 2nd half of the story line, in Webisode 22.

I think “Vegan Bear Scare” turned out to be very exciting. However, the next one coming up, “Tin Roof Rusted” is… simply epic.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: What I Bought Instead of an $70 Gorilla Costume

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: What I Bought Instead of an $80 Gorilla Costume

Dear Jack,

It all started last weekend when our family was at Target getting your Halloween costume. We amazingly found a Captain America costume for just 10 bucks!

In the next aisle, I found a gorilla costume for $30. The thing is, I’ve always wanted one. My way of thinking is, you never know when one might come in handy…

I tried it on, but fortunately, it was a “XL” size for boys; the body of it fit a little tight, but I could have made it work. However, the head mask itself was too small to even fit past my forehead.

Since then, I have checked in every store comparable to Target, as well as those seasonal Halloween stores.

The going rate for a men’s gorilla costume is $80.

So it’s $30 for an XL boy size, but $80 for the next size up; a men’s.

I have great plans for a new character for our Jack-Man series; a mutant beast that would be a reoccurring character.

And the thing is, gorilla costumes really aren’t that common, but they are recognizable. I think a gorilla would make a very fascinating and dynamic character for our videos.

As for now, the story ends with our family going yesterday morning to Super Target, near our house. I did find a men’s gorilla costume there for $70…

However, I also found a $25 Chewbacca men’s onesie and a $15 Target brand “Angry Teddy Mask.”

(I’ll still check the morning after Halloween to see if I can get the gorilla costume half off at Super Target.)

When I got home yesterday, I decided I could cover up the Chewbacca’s sash with a green puffy vest I already had, to make the costume original for our videos.

So for nearly half the price of the best deal I could find on a gorilla costume, I made my own beastly creature costume.

If things go as planned, everyone will be able to catch a glimpse of my new beastly character after we film a new webisode of Jack-Man next weekend…

Love,

Daddy

The Journey Home DVD Review

These days, I leave it up to my nearly 5 year-old son which DVDs to review here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog. Last week when I showed him a picture of the DVD cover for The Journey Home and asked him, “Jack, should we review this movie about a boy who helps a baby polar bear?

The Journey Home DVD Review

With zero hesitation, he responded with an excited yes, as if to insinuate, “Well, why wouldn’t we, Daddy?”

After all, my son is obsessed with learning about animals. Some of his favorite shows on Netflix are Dinosaur Train and Octonauts; both of which provide him with an array of trivia for him to quiz me about after he watches each episode.

Simply put, my son was fascinated by and fixated on The Journey Home the entire time.

It was pretty amazing even for me to see a little polar bear interact with the main character, a teenage boy, with such personality. The bear was like a little puppy.

I particularly enjoyed all the helicopter shots of the arctic.

After we finished the movie, my son asked me, “Daddy, do we get to keep it?” I suppose that implies he’s planning on watching The Journey Home again in the new future.

Now that my son is getting older, we’re able to start watching more family movies, as opposed to just kids’ movies.

Therefore, I do want to point out this movie is rated PG; not G. As the rating label on the box implies, there are a couple four letter words; as well as some disturbing images, like a dead polar bear after it was killed by hunters, as well as the frozen remains of a man who apparently died in the snow and ice.

As for my nearly 5 year-old son, he was too excited about the baby polar bear to notice the elements that make the movie PG rated.

Now, for some exciting news…

Just as our family gets to keep this movie like my son asked about, so did one lucky reader of Family Friendly Daddy Blog as well…

Congrats to Matt Wright, who was the first person to go the Facebook wall of Family Friendly Daddy Blog and ask this question:

Did I just win The Journey Home?

Thanks for reading!

RLJ ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS

THE JOURNEY HOME

Available on DVD and Digital Video Sept. 22, 2015

THE JOURNEY HOME DVD


Genre:                        Family/Drama/Adventure
Rating:                        PG

Language:                  English
Format:                       Color
Year:                           2014
SRP:                           $27.97
Length:                       98 minutes
UPC:                           0014381002898
Cat#:                           POL00289DVD
Aspect Ratio:              2.35:1
Audio Format:             Dolby Digital 5.1
 
 

The Journey Home DVD Review

dad from day one: He Who Dies Happy in Old Age, Still Dies

Thirty weeks.


Ironically, while waiting for my first child to be born I am accompanied by thoughts of the finality of my own life.  Having a baby is such a huge milestone, such a life-changing event, that my mind skips decades ahead to when my kid will graduate high school, to when I will be a grandparent, and ultimately, to my inevitable passing into eternity.  In my mind, all those big events are strung together like bubbly Christmas lights from 1988.

My wife and I have this agreement that concerning our own inevitable deaths, we will die healthy but of “natural causes” in our sleep, both at age 92, holding hands.  And I would assume that most happily married people would wish for the same thing- to be able to raise their children with their spouse, to grow old with their family, and to pass this life in our right minds – not lonely and suffering in a nursing home.  I don’t consider a sudden brain aneurism, a car accident, or being mauled by a bear while hiking through the woods.  No, you see, I have carefully planned out my own “natural causes” death in a romantic and perfect way.

And that’s the only way I can think about the end of my life- with optimism.  Assuming I will live a long, happy life, giving all I can to my family.   It’s the only way I can think, because even now, two months before Baby Jack is scheduled to arrive, I am responsible for another life.  I have to be here to take care of him.  And my wife.

I truly am incapable of trying to fathom how so many people in the world don’t have a solid understanding (or at least some kind of basic perspective) of what happens after this life, and that they don’t think about it on a daily basis like I do.  How the afterlife is completely something to be considered, how beyond heaven and hell issues, this dream of life is the prequel to eternity.  And now, already, a new soul has been created, and I had something to do with that.  I have changed the course of eternity.

This baby is not just a body; he’s got a soul.  A soul that will need guidance for this life and the eternal one.  And I have to be here for that.  Even if these thoughts may seem dark and depressing to some, I refuse to ignore the reality that life and death are intertwined.  As much as I “try not to take life too seriously” like all those stupid bumper stickers and annoying e-mail forwards tell me, I still take life seriously enough to think about this stuff.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com