Dear Holly: This is My Favorite Picture of You This Week, Lounging Like a Preteen in the Backseat

2 and a half years.

Sometimes after I take a picture of you, I see you in a different way than I have before. This was the case when I snapped a picture of you last week while we were on our family trip to Destin in the 2019 Chevy Traverse.

Even though you are only 2 and a half, in that picture, I easily catch a glimpse of you years from now:

Relaxed, having fun, just chilling out while looking so cute.

Behind my jacket which is hanging over the top of your seat, you can see some of our shopping bags from when we went to the outlets.

It’s as if I am seeing you a decade from now, on the way back from you getting to spend all your own birthday money on clothes.

I love this picture.




More Stories from Our Family’s Road Trip to Destin, Florida in the 2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier

I have no problem admitting that the pictures and stories I share here on my blog and on my social media serve as my family’s highlight reel. There is no shame in that.

As the default photographer for my family of four, one of my roles in our household is to constantly create and maintain a collection of our best memories as they happen in real time. With all the chaos in this life, it’s important for us to celebrate what is good.

So no, you’re not going to see pictures of any meltdowns due to lack of sleep or food while on our family’s recent trip to Destin, Florida in the 2019 Chevy Traverse for my son’s 8th birthday. Nope, just the silly smiles and good times.

For example, I can’t stop thinking about how hours after the fact, I learned that my daughter had placed stickers on my butt.

That’s right. I had been driving around Destin and hanging out at Starbucks with my family, without realizing that dozens of tiny Paw Patrol stickers covered not only my shirt, which I was aware of, but also pretty much everywhere else.

While my wife had been scurrying around the LOFT outlet, I was keeping the kids at bay in the meantime. Fortunately, we made the right moral decision to allow our daughter to buy a package of over 300 stickers from the dollar aisle at Target earlier that day.

I just crouched there in the middle of the LOFT, sort of lethargically, while doing my best to keep the kids from getting into too much trouble.

Later that day, as we wrapped up our outlet shopping spree (amazingly only spending about $300 total), we finished up at the Bass Pro Shop. It just so happened that Santa was there too!

I loved how my daughter just walked right up to him for her free picture, with a huge smile on her face; not afraid at all. Granted, that didn’t mean she was going to actually smile for the picture though.

And speaking of free attractions in Destin, we couldn’t resist seeing the gators over at Fudpucker’s. Of course, my son did enough up spending some of his birthday money there at the souvenir shop.

The last thing we did before we headed back home to Tennessee was to visit one of my wife’s brothers (there are 10 kids in that family!) in Pensacola. We enjoyed lunch at Jaco’s, our token place to stop to eat in that town.

Afterwards, we walked around the marina for over an hour, allowing the kids to burn off as much energy as they could, before beginning the 7 hour return trip to the Nashville area.

It worked.

Much needed sleep was obtained.

Seriously, now that I’ve had a chance to look back on all these pictures and stories from our trip, I can clearly see: We truly had some good times as a family.

Thank you Chevy for helping make our trip so awesome!

Our Family’s DESTINation Family Road Trip for Our 8 Year Old Son’s Birthday, in the 2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier

My wife and I gave our son a choice: Would you want to have your 8th birthday party here in Nashville with your friends? Or… would you choose to go on a road trip to Destin, Florida with your family for half a week?


Turns out, my son is a smart kid. Yeah, he chose the Florida road trip.

I admit: Being a daddy blogger has its perks- like Chevy loaning us a 2019 Traverse AWD Premier with a full tank of gas.

The very first time I worked with Chevy was 7 years ago when our family got to drive a Volt from Naples to Key West. That was also around the time Chevy sent me to Detroit with a bunch of other daddy bloggers to tour the facility where the Traverse is tested and built.

Seven years ago, my son was only one year old. Now he has a 2 and a half year old sister. Therefore, the Chevy Traverse is that much more relevant to our family. It just so happened that the main gift our son asked for was a new Kindle- and the Traverse came equipped with WiFi!

Perfect for a long road trip, for sure.

We totally appreciated all the cargo space, as we sort of overpacked by default, hauling not only swimming clothes along with winter clothes, but also our son’s birthday presents.

When we go on long road trips like this one (7 hours), the kids appreciate being in their own rows. Our daughter can fall asleep easier and our son gets to be in his own world. And up front, the parents actually get to have some uninterrupted conversations while SiriusXM’s Alt Nation plays in the background.

It’s always a gamble when staying in hotels overnight with a 2 and a half year old, but fortunately where we stayed at the Pelican Beach Resort, our daughter absolutely loved her “room”, as she called it: She occupied the bottom of the bunk beds which were built into the walls; each bed having it’s own TV.

Oh, and then there was the beach itself…

By the way, in case you didn’t catch it, the picture above is a play on words: Our last name is Shell and there are 4 of us!

Leading up to our son opening his birthday gifts, I hid a “gold bar” in the sand for him to find. However, he immediately figured out it was just a toy I planted there.

Here’s the video I made as it happened:

As for his birthday cake, we simply pressed the OnStar button and had the directions to Whole Foods sent to our GPS, and let our son pick out a gourmet cupcake for himself; meanwhile my wife and I shared one ourselves.

So this is what happens when as the parents, you decide that helping your child celebrate their birthday is more fun if you have a “DESTINation” road trip instead of a typical birthday party.

The right decision was definitely made here!

Thanks for reading my blog today. If you liked this story about our family’s recent road trip to Destin in the 2019 Chevy Traverse, stay tuned… I have a sequel blog post with more pictures and stories from our adventure!

2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier: 3rd Row Seat Space, Gas Tank Release, Opening the Trunk… Plus, Hidden Cargo Space!

For the past week, I have had the awesome opportunity to drive the 2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier. As a daddy blogger, there are particular questions I like to find answers to when I drive a new vehicle; as I have found them to be relevant here on my blog as well as its related YouTube channel.

First, I like to explore the 3rd row seat space, for an average size American person. (At least, let’s assume I’m average at 5′ 9″ and 170 pounds.)

Check out this video, where I do a quick demonstration of me sitting in the 3rd row seat. I was impressed with how much clearance I had above my head. With most other vehicles with a 3rd row seat, my head grazes the ceiling, but not in the 2019 Chevy Traverse.

Next, I like to show where to find the gas tank release; as it can be stressful when you’re already at the gas pump but don’t know how to get to the tank. In the new Traverse, it’s this simple:

Just press the gas tank door with your finger. It’s really easy.

And lastly, especially in an SUV, I like to point out how to open the trunk door. While there is a release button near the steering wheel, I found that it was more practically for me just to “double click” the button on the key remote. (Then just press the close button on the trunk door itself for it to automatically close.)

I particularly appreciated the hidden cargo space in the trunk. I was able to store so much in there on my family’s recent road trip to Destin, Florida; from the Nashville area.

Thanks for checking out my blog today on the 2019 Chevy Traverse. I am confident you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

-Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Three weeks ago, our family was able to drive a brand-new 2015 Chevy Colorado crew cab from our home near Nashville (TN) to Montgomery (AL) as we supported our nephew Matt graduated Air Force boot camp.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Though he’s from Sacramento (CA) where my wife is from, Matt’s boot camp was coincidentally assigned in Montgomery, which is in driving distance (about 4 hours) from where we live.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

When Chevrolet found out we were going to be the only family members able to see Matt graduate, as the rest of his family is on the west coast, they jumped at the chance to provide a vehicle to help us make the journey.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Chevrolet is a big supporter of our military, providing discounts to Active Duty members, reserves, veterans within one year of discharge – including spouses of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard. The discount can be combined with most current incentives. Here’s a link to Chevy’s site for more on their military discount.

I have to point out that the general public was thoroughly impressed by the mere sight of the 2015 Chevy Colorado. During the week I drove it, I had people approaching me asking about it.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Here’s my walk-around video I made:

When you see the truck in person, it’s hard to look away. And not simply because it was yellow; but because it’s very clear this is a tough truck.

I filmed my son’s and wife’s first reaction to it when I pulled in the driveway. I promise I didn’t prompt them to say anything; I just let the camera roll. Their reactions are completely sincere.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

On the way to our hotel near Maxwell Air Force Base there in Montgomery, we stopped at Mellow Mushroom to have dinner with our son’s good friend, Sophie, who coincidentally moved away last year from Nashville to Montgomery.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

The next morning we attended our nephew Matt’s boot camp graduation. He happened to be at the end of the parade, holding a rifle, next the flag bearers, so I got a good shot of him for my video.

Afterwards, we had some time to hang out there on the base and catch up with him. The Chevy Colorado provided a much needed break from the heat outside, leading up until it was time to eat lunch there at the base.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

But first, Matt gave us a tour of Maxwell, showing us on the jets, which my son was impressed to see.

Eventually, we had to say goodbye to Matt; though we should be seeing him again when we make our annual trip to Sacramento, next month.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

It goes without saying we are more than proud to see Matt began a career that involves serving in our military. He has what it takes!

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

The road trip wasn’t complete without a trip back to my hometown in Fort Payne (AL), on the way back to Nashville.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Our niece Calla had her 4th birthday party! So to make things even more fun, our family shot a couple Jack-Man webisodes.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

By the way, Jack-Man is a web series that my son Jack and I do, in which he is the superhero and I am the arch nemesis. For webisodes 14 and 15, the 2015 Chevy Colorado serves as part of the plot device.

So it’s apparent we had a wonderful road trip. We look forward to reviewing more Chevy vehicles in the future!

And now I will close with my video which features the events mentioned above:

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado provided courtesy of Chevrolet for promotional purposes.

Dear Jack: Webisode 14 & 15 of Jack-Man, Featuring 2015 Chevy Colorado

4 years, 7 months.


Dear Jack,

This past weekend we took a 3 day weekend to Alabama; not only for your cousin Calla’s 4th birthday party, but also to see your cousin Matt graduate Air Force boot camp in Montgomery; while we were there, we also got to hang out with your friend Sophie and her family at Mellow Mushroom.

We were able to drive a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up trick to review.  So I decided to feature it prominently in our newest couple of webisodes of Jack-Man…

In Webisode 14: “Shadetree Mechanic,” Green Meanie tries to sabotage Jack-Man’s chances of going to Super Calla’s 4th birthday party by taking a wrench to the Chevy Colorado.

It features my new song, “How’s It Feel To Be The Bad Guy?” which is the 1st song I’ve ever done that features Mommy singing too:

How’s it feel to be the bad guy?

How’s it feel to be so mean?

When all your best friends are all enemies?

Did you wake up on the wrong side

Of the cot maybe under a rock?

Do you need a hug?

Maybe you should change your approach? Change your approach

And in Webisode 15: “Birthday Party Crashers”, after Green Meanie sneakily hitches a ride in the back of the Chevy Colorado, he meets up with The Juggler (your uncle Andrew), then recruits The Street Sweeper (your Papa) to help crash Super Calla’s 4th birthday party.


The new song featured in it is “Blow Your House Down.”

I’m gonna blow your house down

Feel my minty breath flowing through your hair

I’m gonna blow your house down

You can call the law but I don’t care

Uh-oh, I want to know what you believe in

Will you believe if you don’t see it?

Like the wind that blows so freely

From my lungs unto your ceiling

Uh-oh, I am not the wind beneath your wings

But I’m the storm with scary lightning

You’re not in Kansas anymore

I am knocking down your door

We also filmed 2 other Jack-Man webisodes as well. I can’t wait to edit them. It takes me at least 3 hours for every Jack-Man webisode I make!

Webisode 16 is about organic, non-GMO produce at Nonna and Papa’s garden, and 17 is a cool chase episode in the woods, leading to a huge rock. I’m really exciting to share them!

I’ll also be writing more about our visit to see your cousin Matt graduate boot camp, after I get a chance to put some videos together for that.

And… this weekend is exciting for Mommy and me because Sunday makes 7 years she and I have been married.



Behind The Scenes Of My Featured Story On FastLane, General Motors’ Webpage

Back during Columbus Day weekend, our family took an adventurous and somewhat whimsical road trip to the glorious city of Asheville, North Carolina.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

I published several stories on the event here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, as we were reviewing a 4G LTE equipped 2014 Buick LaCrosse in the midst of it:

Dear Jack: Your Drawing Of A Freak Wearing A Backpack

The New (and Younger) Buick, Equipped with 4G and OnStar

Syncing To 4G and Using OnStar Remote Link App On GM Vehicles

Dear Jack: There’s Nothin’ Like Riding Through A Tunnel In The Car

Vegan Friendly Review Of Asheville, North Carolina

Our Visit to the Buchi Headquarters And Avonlea Learning Community

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: Our Visit To The Ghost And Skeleton Museum

Typically when I review a car, I publish a story that specifically features the vehicle. This time around, though… I didn’t.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

That’s because General Motors asked me to write that post exclusively for their website: FastLane.

Therefore, I now invite you to see the story right now:

Nashville to Asheville in an OnStar 4G LTE-Equipped Buick LaCrosse

It is an honor to be featured as a guest writer on General Motors publications page. I’ve mentioned before, I only endorse companies and products I believe in.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

In fact, I’ve now turned down several hundreds of dollars to endorse brands I would be ashamed to associate with.

However, I have a lot of respect for General Motors.

Three years ago, I was able to do my very first car review thanks to them, when our family drove the electric Chevy Volt from Naples to Key West. (See 7 Reasons This Dad Wants A Chevy Volt and  My Son The Beach Bum… Not Really!)

They have also flown me to their headquarters in Detroit twice now to see how they make and test their vehicles. (See Rise Of The Dadmobile: The Chevy Traverse and GM Sees Beyond Stereotypes.)

Our Visit to the Buchi Headquarters And Avonlea Learning Center

I especially enjoyed my trip there last year when I visited the OnStar headquarters and was able to see a different, more inspiring side of Detroit; not the side you see on the TV. (See Born And Raise In South Detroit… Or I Just Drove Around There and Say Nice Things About Detroit.)

Not to mention, I have now reviewed several of their vehicles here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog:

2015 Buick LaCrosse (4G Equipped): Labor Day Weekend Family Friendly Review

2014 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

2011 Chevy Volt: 7 Reasons This Dad Wants A Chevy Volt

Dear Jack: There’s Nothin’ Like Riding Through A Tunnel In The Car

Regarding my new story on their website, I was able to feature their innovative implementation of 4G LTE on their vehicles.

As always, thanks for reading Family Friendly Daddy Blog; but as for now, let me redirect you to General Motors’ Fast Lane website again:

Nashville to Asheville in an OnStar 4G LTE-Equipped Buick LaCrosse

2015 Buick LaCrosse Asheville,NC