Dear Holly or Logan: Why I Think You are a Girl

13 weeks.

Dear Holly or Logan: I Think You are a Girl

Dear Holly or Logan,

Within two months, everyone in the free world will know whether you are a boy or a girl. But until then, it’s all educated speculation.

From the very beginning, I have confidently told Mommy that you are a girl. Here’s why:

With your brother Jack, it was like Mommy virtually had no pregnancy symptoms other than leg cramps, which we later figured out was because she needed to eat more bananas, which contained the magnesium and calcium she was needing in her diet.

But with you, Mommy is constantly nauseas.

The only relief is when she is asleep. Even though you can’t tell from looking at Mommy that she is pregnant, I am definitely aware because she is constantly feeling either really hungry or like she ate way too much; no matter how little or much she eats.

In other words, her pregnancy with Jack was a boy pregnancy. Now, I believe, Mommy is encountering a girl pregnancy.

Either way, these are all signs of healthy life inside of Mommy, so as much as it’s tough to know she’s feeling uncomfortable, it gives me peace knowing you are alive and well inside of her tummy. That is a blessing itself that I don’t take for granted.

As much as I would love another boy, I feel it could very easily be my fate to have a daughter.

Mommy and I taught 5th grade Sunday School for the past year. And while I loved interacting with the boys, there was something special about getting to know those girls that gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to have my own daughter.

It revealed to me a place in my heart to where I was able to see why parenting and mentoring a little girl would be a rewarding experience.

We’ll know the week after Thanksgiving. We can continue this conversation then.

Love,

Daddy

Take This Parenting Survey for a Chance to Win a Money Gift Card, from Clark University

Take This Parenting Survey for a Chance to Win a Gift Card, from Clark University

There are currently four $50 gift cards, one $100 gift card, and one $200 gift card up for grabs, as undergraduate Kayla Landis at Clark University is currently working on her senior thesis which focuses on how other people, namely parents and adults, perceive parents whose children behave disruptively in public.

The study also addresses some topics such as childhood mental illness and disability.

Kayla has asked me to utilize my reach as a blogger to help her find parents who would be willing to take this online survey, in exchange for a chance to win one of these previously mentioned gift cards.

Winners of the raffle will be drawn after data collection has been completed. The tentative date for this is October 21st.

Kayla had stumbled upon Family Friendly Daddy Blog when she was searching for parenting blogs, particularly blogs written by fathers, as this is a demographic that she needs more participants from.

She told me she was struck by some of the posts on the site, including the “Dear Jack” segments and the conversations about identifying as a particular race/knowing how to identify yourself. This just stuck out to Kayla and she thought that perhaps someone who blogged about interesting topics like these might be interested in promoting herstudy.

Kayla found that when blog sites promote the survey on social media, she tends to get a lot of participant responses.

So, if you’re interested, click on this link below. If you complete the survey, you stand a chance of winning a gift card; plus, you’re helping out an undergraduate.

https://clarku.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0kxsME5Va34ZLU1

This is a study being conducted by Kayla Landis, an undergraduate student who is doing research with her adviser, Dr. Nicole Overstreet, in the Psychology Department at Clark University. This study focuses on how parents perceive other parents whose children behave disruptively in public spaces; mental illness and childhood disability are also addressed. The study should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. All participant responses will remain anonymous; however, participants may choose to provide their email address at the end of the study if they wish to be entered in a raffle for one of several Visa gift cards.  All email addresses will remain confidential.

Now Introducing Flashbacks (Reruns) On Family Friendly Daddy Blog

Now Introducing Flashbacks (Reruns) On Family Friendly Daddy Blog

Next month makes 5 whole years that I’ve been “daddy blogging” here on my website. At this point, I’ve published nearly 2,000 posts on Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

My readership has obviously grown over the years; I didn’t even have a Facebook page for my blog for the first couple years.

Therefore, I’m sure there are many of my posts that flew under the radar. And with me posting 3 to 6 new ones every week for the past 5 years, it’s only natural that there are plenty of “lost episodes” that went unseen or forgotten.

I’m sticking to my policy about only regularly posting new stuff on Thursdays. However, from Friday to Wednesday is fair game for me quickly tossing up some links on Facebook and Twitter; to advertise some reruns, or as I plan to refer to them, flashbacks.

Sometimes it will be a “3 years ago today on Family Friendly Daddy Blog…” retro sort of rerun.

But I predict most of the time it will just be me reposting things I’ve written that my now larger audience (nearly 1,000 followers of Facebook at this point) missed the first time around.

So in review, I will continue to post new material on Thursdays, but for the rest of the week, you can expect syndication.

Thanks for being a part of Family Friendly Daddy Blog with me. I am always encouraged to see how many people are reading every day, as I am able to see how many people read each post, using my administration screen.

And still, I’m surprised by how interested readers are in learning about life in our new house. That’s why I try to do a “house post” every Thursday.

I think my inspiration to incorporate reruns happened because my wife and I have been catching up on old episodes of Friends on Netflix; meanwhile, I’m been listening to my old CD collection from high school.

Perhaps I’m just in the mood to feel nostalgic.

Seriously, Sister Hazel’s Somewhere More Familiar really is one of the best albums ever recorded…

Sister_Hazel_-_Somewhere_More_Familiar

Growing Up Social: Family Friendly Book Review

As my regular readers of Family Friendly Daddy Blog already know, my family is building a house; closing date in January 29th, 2015.

In the process of planning out the rooms, my wife and I have decided that while we will have a TV in the bonus room, we won’t have one downstairs in the living room; or any other room.

That means in order to watch TV, you actually have to walk upstairs and isolate yourself. Therefore, the temptation is greatly reduced to walk in the door and veg out without spending quality time with other family members.

I believe it’s “little” decisions like that which contribute to health family communication and relationships.

Growing Up Social: Family Friendly Book Review

A few weeks ago while reviewing a car here for Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I was sent an iPad and an iPhone to use in conjunction with the vehicle’s 4G LTE capabilities.

I should point out that I’m of the American minority; we have no smart phones in our household. My wife and I both have “dumb” phones instead.

The main reason is because we’re not willing to pay for a data plan. We are on a family plan with my parents and pay a monthly total of only $30 per month. Again, that’s total; not per person.

But even if it cost us no extra money per month to own smart phones, I still wouldn’t be excited.

Here’s why:

I fully recognized that my family’s life is hurried enough. My wife and I both work; our son is in school all day. The commute time in Nashville is longer than the average large city.

We don’t need more interruptions or distractions in our lives. I feel that if we owned smart phones, it would only add to the anxiety.

Sure, I get the irony in the fact that I run this blog from a cheap ASUS laptop and a dumb phone. I was the official daddy blogger for Parents Magazine for 3 years and never once touched a smart phone.

Of all people, I should own a smart phone… or at least want one. But I don’t.

I won’t deny the fact that having a smart phone for that week made certain things more convenient. However, I found myself getting frustrated that I couldn’t use manage my blog with the same ease as a laptop.

Plus, I don’t like knowing that I can check my email or Facebook at any time. I’d rather just “shut it off” during the day.

Growing Up Social

With that being said, you could imagine I would easily like this book…Growing Up Social, by Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages) and Arelene Pellicane (31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife).

The book causes you to ask yourself, “Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart?”

Growing Up Social teaches the five skills that every healthy child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention:

The Skill of Affection – How do you show real love to another person?

The Skill of Appreciation – How do you cultivate a grateful heart?

The Skill of Attention – How do you focus and be a good listener?

The Skill of Anger Management – How do you express anger in a productive way?

The Skill of Apology – How do you mend a relationship after you make a mistake?

The focus is raising relational kids in a screen-driving world. So relevant!

And one lucky reader will win a free copy of this book today…

Just be the first person to post on the Facebook wall for Family Friendly Daddy Blog (not a private message), asking me, “Did I just win Growing Up Social?”

If you’re the first person to do so, I will respond by saying yes… After that, I will follow up by getting your address to give to the publisher so they can send you your won copy!

Update: A winner was found within just a few minutes of this post going live. The giveaway portion is now complete.

Did I just win Growing up social????

Thanks for reading today! And remember, I’ll be giving more books away; so stay tuned…

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: ‘Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising’):

Many thanks to Propellor Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

dad from day one: My Big Secret is that Parents.com has Chosen Me as Their Official Daddy Blogger- Now Introducing “The Dadabase”

Six months.

The picture above was cropped for my new header.

One of my favorite movies of all time is the so-relevant-to-real-life Marley and Me– which is based on the autobiographical book of the same name. The author and main character is John Grogan, a newspaper columnist who captures his everyday life in stories in his column.  The first time I saw Marley and Me, I remember thinking, “That would be so cool to have such a widely read column.” Around the same time, in 2009, my wife bought me two “how to become a writer” books for my birthday.  I had the inspiration and the guidance, I just didn’t have the right story topic yet.

A year later, my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby.  The idea came to me to become the only dad in history to document my fatherly thoughts and perspective every single week on a blog, starting with the beginning of the pregnancy.  So on April 13, 2010, I wrote my first “dad from day one” entry.  And today, technically, I write my last.

From this picture I sent in to the Parents.com staff, they designed my new logo.

Here’s why: Parents.com, the website for Parents magazine (first published in 1926), has decided to pick up my daddy blog series; starting today, right now, at the conclusion of this post with a link.  “Dad from day one” is being rebooted into something much bigger, yet it will still be faithful to its roots.  (And I’ll still be writing my “nonparenting” posts here on NickShell.com).  I decided to go with a new name for my daddy blog that I felt will be most appropriate, since I’m the only daddy blogger for Parents.com’s new featured blogs.

I needed some help coming up with the perfect name, though.  So I recruited the help of my facebook friends, and Diana Jung Taub had the idea to play off of the word “data.”  I added the word “base,” then my wife gave me the official article “the.”

I liked the idea of Jack's hand holding on to my finger, a symbol of fatherly strength.

The Dadabase will pick up right where “dad from day one” is leaving off.  But whereas “dad from day one” has been a weekly series (I wrote at least one post each week for it), The Dadabase will basically be a daily series.  I am contracted to write a minimum of 4 posts per week and can write a maximum of 25 each month.  If I write the maximum, which predictably is what I am planning to do, that’s around 5.5 posts per week.

With Parents magazine’s already existing paid circulation of 2 million people and a total readership of 15 million people, my daddy blog is about to hit an instant growth spurt- a pretty big one.  I’m good at keeping secrets (I’ve known about this since March as I’ve been in a nearly daily contact with the editors up in New York City) but I’m so happy to finally share the news with you, my faithful readers.

My little blog is growing up, just like my little boy, who this whole thing is about in the first place.

Okay, welp… it’s time to shut down the lights in this little place and move all my stuff to that high rise apartment in the sky.  I’m movin’ on up- and I’m taking you with me.

Enter:  The Dadabase.

(Click on the the underlined phrase above this sentence to be transported there, it’s the link…)

Super Lactate Me: Does Switching From Skim Milk to Whole Milk Really Cause You to Gain Weight?

For the next month, this former skim milk drinker will switch to whole milk.  Yes, I am making my body a scientific experiment.

It just makes sense: People who want to become or stay slim drink either skim or 1% milk, right? That’s the only kind of milk we had at our house growing up.  And when you are used to watery milk, when you do have whole milk, it “tastes gross.”  But when I received the May 2011 issue of Details magazine (which they strangely keep sending me though I didn’t renew my subscription after January), I was intrigued by the front cover.  I’m not referring to the picture of Mark Ruffalo, but instead the caption that read, “Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?

After reading the article, I’m convinced the answer is yes- skim milk can cause weight gain .  Basically, here’s how it works:

As you know, there are “good fats” that your body craves and needs.  They don’t cause you to gain weight as long as you don’t gorge in them and/or combine then with processed sugar.  These good fats can be found in nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.  There are also “bad fats” that we often substitute in the place of the good fats.  Our body craves the good fats but it’s easier and more convenient to eat the bad fats; they can be found in fried foods, large portions of red meat, ice cream and any other dairy product with added sugar.

According to the article, milk fat actually falls in the category of good fats.  So when the fat is removed from the milk (making it a more processed food), essentially you’re depriving yourself of the most important part of the food; which is the good fat.  Fat doesn’t make you fat as long as it’s good fat and you don’t add sugar to it.

Not only does it not cause you to gain weight, but fat from whole milk does not raise your cholesterol.  Here’s why: There is also “good cholesterol” which is not bad for your heart and “bad cholesterol,” which does cause heart disease.  And conveniently, the good fat from the whole milk is the good cholesterol.

A third reason that fat from whole milk is good for you (I didn’t realize we were counting) is that fat slows down the flow of sugar into the bloodstream. Sugar causes fat to stick to your body.  It’s like this:

fat + sugar = fat is stored in body

fat + no sugar = fat passes through the body

So if you consume whole milk with Fruity Pebbles, the fat from the whole milk may cause you to gain weight because of the sugar.  But if you consume whole milk with straight oatmeal or a high fiber/low sugar cereal like Wheat Chex, the fat will pass through.

(I recognize that milk contains lactose, which is a form of sugar, but it’s a natural part of milk so I’m not worried about it.  Just like the way fruit contains lots of sugar, but when you eat the fruit itself, the fiber in the fruit basically cancels out the negative effects.)

Need another reason whole milk is the best choice?  It triggers the “I’m full” hormone, causing you to want to stop eating.

And this may not gross you out, but it does me: Skim and 1% milk become a bluish-white, chalky liquid by the time all the fat is removed.  Therefore, powdered milk is added to these low fat milks to whiten them.

So back to the question in the title of this post: Does switching from skim milk to whole milk really cause you to gain weight?

No, I’m convinced it does not.

And I’m convinced that yes, skim milk does make you fat.  But I’m not just taking Paul John Scott’s word for it (the guy who wrote the article for Details magazine).  I am trying this theory out for myself; and more importantly, on myself.  As of yesterday, May 14th, I have switched to whole milk.  On a daily basis, I consume around 12 ounces of milk (in my coffee, which I don’t add sugar to) and in my oatmeal; also no sugar added.  I weighed myself on a digital scale:

156.6 pounds

On June 14th, after a month, I will write a sequel to this post proclaiming my weight again.  Obviously, nothing else in my diet or lifestyle will change- just the milk.  Let me point out that I am not trying to lose weight.  I am simply testing out a theory.  If anything, I’m trying to prove that I won’t gain weight.

Would you like to predict whether I will gain or lose weight by taking this month-long milk challenge?  Leave a comment. Then find out in a month whether your prediction was correct, when I write the follow-up post.  Mark your calendar now for this exciting event: June 14th.

Or just click here to travel to the future and learn the results!

What Ingredients Make Up the Flavors of Cola, Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, and “Superman” Ice Cream?

Vanilla just got cool.

Should it remain a mystery or will finding out what gives these popular yet unquestioned items their flavor? Like a magician who actually reveals his tricks, so will I tear away the ancient veil.  Obviously, sugar plays a huge part in all these flavors, what what else is added to make these flavors so distinct, timeless, and magical?

Cola: Citrus oils (derived from the peels of citrus fruits: orange, lemon, and lime), tamarind, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Cotton Candy: Fruits, berries, honey, molasses, vanilla and maple sugar.

Bubble Gum: peppermint, spearmint, menthol, vanilla and fruit.

“Superman” Ice Cream: Vanilla (plus several different colors of food dye.)  Just vanilla.  Seriously. That’s all it is and has ever been.  The rainbow colors play tricks on our minds.

The common ingredient these mysterious flavors have in common, besides a whole lot of sugar, is vanilla.  The connotation of the word “vanilla” sometimes carries the idea of being plain and ordinary.  However, without it, these wonderful American flavors would not be the same.  Vanilla: who knew?