Dear Holly: Do You Realize We Have Different Sized Feet?

1 year, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

Throughout the day with you at the house, it is necessary for me to at least straighten up the house as we go along; from each activity you choose. This past week, you have been entertaining yourself in the meantime by taking it upon yourself to go get my shoes from the closet, carefully put them on, then walk around the kitchen in them.

And it’s not something you did just one time. Instead, this has now become a daily routine.

The moment you see me cleaning up the table after you had a messy breakfast consisting of yogurt and oatmeal, which you insist on feeding yourself with no help from Daddy, you quietly retreat to my shoes.

It’s funny because 10 minutes or so can pass, and the whole time, without me giving you confirmation of what you’re doing, I will look over the counter and catch you meticulously working to put my shoes on.

Once you’ve got them both on, you then make your way over to me, with such a cute little smile on your face.

I’m not sure you realize that we have such different sized feet- and therefore, that my shoes are ridiculously over-sized on you.

You figure that our whole family should just be able to share each other’s shoes; even though you have the tiniest feet in the house and I have the biggest.

It’s great that you are able to find such intriguing entertainment in wearing my shoes. I have to admit- you’re pretty easy to entertain.

Sure, you like your dolls and their baby stroller, but it’s like Daddy’s shoes are just as much fun!

You make my job as a stay-at-dad pretty easy. Not only can I get a little bit of housework done, but I also get free entertainment as well!

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: Carving the Halloween Jack-o’-lantern for the Thanksgiving/Hike at DeSoto Falls with Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca

7 years.

Dear Jack,

After having ventured to Gentry’s Farm to get our family’s pumpkin to carve for Halloween, we just didn’t get around to actually carving it in time. So we took it to Nonna and Papa’s nearly a month after Halloween… for the wrong holiday.

Papa then built a bonfire in the backyard to extend the feeling of pumpkin carving season.

Since your Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca were visiting from Pensacola, we also spent part of Thanksgiving break to introduce them to DeSoto Falls; not that far from where I grew up.

I’m fortunate to be from such a cool outdoorsy town (Fort Payne, Alabama), as it is not the average hometown to spend the holidays in. I was very proud to be able to entertain your aunt and uncle by showing them the giant waterfall up on the mountain.

It’s especially neat because we were able to get pretty close to the water, but kept from certain danger thanks to some guard rails.

While we were enjoying the views, we looked up and saw a few drones flying above us. I imagine it must be an awesome place to fly one around; as long as it doesn’t get caught in the rapids.

I have to assume in a just a few years, you’ll be asking for a drone for your birthday or Christmas, as compared to just Pokemon cards like you are currently obsessed with.

Turns out, your Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca enjoyed their Thanksgiving visit so much, they decided to drive back up from Florida again for Christmas- and this time they are bringing their teenage daughter who you enjoyed spending time with at Uncle Jake’s wedding in San Diego last year.

Whatever we all end up doing during our 5 days in Alabama for Christmas, I know we’re all going to have a great time!

Love,

Daddy

3 Non-Romantic Reasons I Love My Wife

On the surface, it’s easy to see why I chose to spend the rest of my life with the woman I married over 9 years ago. She’s universally beautiful, she’s unselfishly kind, and she’s humble yet confident in herself.

I am a lucky man. I have the ability of knowing in all confidence, I made the right decision.

Not only did I choose the right person to marry, but I made the right decision that fateful night of October 5, 2006, when I spotted her in a crowded room full of hundreds of people and decided to take a chance: I walked up to her and attempted to woo her with my interesting stories, my charming, yet off-beat personality, and my average looks.

It worked.

Now here we are in our mid-30s, having been married nearly a decade, and having produced two blue-eyed, Dutch-looking children despite our DNA.

So while I could easily write 841 words on the romantic aspects of how much I love my wife, I’m instead going to take a different direction. What about the non-romantic reasons I love her?

What about the reasons that would be symbolized not by a heart emoji, but instead, by a house or a stack of money, or by a clock or even a skull?

If for no other reason than to challenge myself as a writer, I now present to you 3 non-romantic reasons I love my wife.

  1. We make a good business team.

I feel like this isn’t emphasized when a couple becomes engaged, but marriage is a business, and it needs to be ran that way. The longer we are married, the better we become at running our family’s business.

During our first year of marriage, before kids, we were able to pay for my wife to go get her Master’s Degree, without going into further debt. That investment paid off, as my wife has since then, consistently made considerably more money than I have all these years. My wife also handles our family’s weekly budget.

On my end, I have been faithfully building my experience as a writer (thanks to this blog) since 2009, and as a YouTuber for the past 3 years. Now at present day, we are seeing the possibility that my “side hustles” (as a blogger, ghostwriter, SEO expert, social media influencer, and YouTuber) are starting to pay off. I actually speculate that by January 2019, our monthly mortgage payment will be covered from my YouTube earnings alone.

My wife is the detailed accountant and investor. I am the creative entrepreneur. Together, we run a family business.

            2. We make a good parenting team.

In the same way we are counterparts as co-business owners, we function the same way as parents. My wife is the nurturer, the schedule keeper, the travel planner, the head chef, and the laundry engineer.

Meanwhile, I am the disciplinarian, the head of communication, the chauffeur, the before-and-after school program director, and the “wake up at any hour of the night to get our daughter back to sleep” technician.

We are not great at doing each other’s roles. Instead, we embrace our individual parenting strengths as part of our own identities. We’ve got a good system. And we’ve got good kids.

Whereas I see marriage as a business, I see parenting as a talent management agency. We have two young recruits who we are responsible for molding into respectable and independent adults, preparing them for the real world.

        3. I want to be around her even during the predictable, seemingly uneventful, non-                          Facebook-status-worthy moments of life.

For me, it all comes back to the famous line in our wedding vows: for better or for worse.

Yeah, I’m totally cool with slowly aging alongside my wife for the next 40 years as we live happily ever after, until ultimately one of us finally dies first, leaving the other person with the insurance money- and unimaginable sadness.

But what about the in-between of better or worse? Not everyday can be a Michael Bublé song. Many days are more like Huey Lewis, when he sang, “Yes, it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you.”

I love my wife for the moments in our life together that are just normal and forgettable; the B-roll footage that no one would care about watching if our lives were a reality TV show on TLC, called Our Crazy Vegetarian Life. Being grateful for your spouse through all the filler moments, which honestly, make up most of our time on this planet, is what real love is all about.

So maybe I’ve failed to hold true to the title of this article. Maybe there really is something romantic about building a life together, running it like a business, creating and raising mini-me’s, and choosing to love a person until the day you die, even if most of those days don’t have fireworks and champagne.

Maybe there’s something undeniably romantic about the unromantic parts of loving the person you married.

If so, consider me a hopeless romantic.

Photo credit: Mohamad Alaw.

About the Author:

I am an accidental stay-at-home vegan daddy blogger based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. I have no spare time, but by default, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, mountain biking, skateboarding, running, and going on road trips across America with my family in vehicles that Toyota and Lexus provide for free because it’s smart advertising for them.

Additionally, I enjoy making videos for both of my YouTube channels: Nick Shell, which is a mentorship program for younger men who are psychologically dealing with going bald, and Family Friendly Daddy Blog, which celebrates and explores ethnic diversity based on DNA test results.

SEO Spotlight: Advertise Your Start-Up Company Here on My Blog for $100 (or I’ll Ghostwrite It for $350)

When you Google the term “daddy blogger”, my website shows up twice in the top 20 you see. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m one of the 20th most popular. More importantly, it means I have good SEO, or search engine optimization.

Are you looking for affordable and relevant ways to get the word out about your new business? You’ve probably realized by now how important it is that your website is SEO friendly; meaning that people are able to easily find your product or service when they type in key words in a search engine; which can easily direct them instead to an online ocean of competition.

You need other websites to link to that have healthy SEO; websites that have been around much longer and are already connected to other larger websites.

The website you are currently visiting is one of those. My SEO is so good that I receive weekly solicitations from start-up companies asking me if they can write a “guest post” on my blog. (I email them the link to this blog post when they do!)

Obviously, people are asking this because I already have want they want: Great SEO!

Imagine the hard way: The thought of having to Google all the other most popular “family friendly” websites, then emailing the author asking permission to do a guest blog post to boost your own SEO, then hope they actually say yes…

Or, there’s me over here.

I’m saying, “Hey, I’ll do it for 100 bucks.”

That’s right. You write a casual article promoting your product or service with a link to your website and include a few relevant photos, and I’ll feature you in my “SEO Spotlight” series.

Not only would you be getting a platform in front of my already established readership base, and not only would I be promoting the post through my social media channels, but perhaps the greatest benefit is that by being linked and promoted by my SEO-healthy website, it gives you an SEO boost as well.

Afterwards, you would pay me $100 through PayPal.

If you would prefer that I write the feature post for your product or service instead, I would charge you $350 total instead; for 350 words.

That’s the going rate. That’s what these other companies have already been paying me.

Primrose Schools Executive Function Skills

Lexus Father and Son Road Trip

Toyota Family Road Trip to the Boonies

XFINITY Entertainment on the Go

Moe’s Meals on the Go

Trail4Runner.com

Chicago Metro Home Inspections

Museum Hack

Superior Honda

Brian Leach

So, are you in? It’s only 100 bucks. You’ve got to have a budget for this kind of thing anyways. Do you really feel like soliciting other bloggers to do this for free? Or paying a higher fee to someone else?

Here’s my email: nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Experienced SEO Freelance Writer for Hire: $1 Per Word (Or for $100, See Your Own Writing Featured on My Site as a Guest Blogger)

If you are considering hiring an experienced and proven freelance writer for your next press release, or would simply like to be featured as a guest blogger on my site, consider my skill set and history.

Begin by clicking on the links below, to get a feel for recent work I have been hired to do for high end brands like Lexus and Primrose Schools; as well as other household names like XFINITY and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Primrose Schools Executive Function Skills

Lexus Father and Son Road Trip

Toyota Family Road Trip to the Boonies

XFINITY Entertainment on the Go

Moe’s Meals on the Go

I would like to highlight my skill in writing and knack for engaging readers in original compositions, as is demonstrated on both my personal website, FamilyFriendlyDaddyBlog.com, and my previous corporate sponsored blog, The Dadabase on Parents.com. Through these websites combined, I have been able to create content which has allowed me to connect with thousands of readers across the world, garnering over two million hits within the past several years.  I am solely responsible for determining topics of interest, researching for validation, authoring, editing, managing and updating all material on the sites.

If you would like to hire me to write your next press release, based on what other companies have already hired me to do over the past year, this is my rate:

$1 per word; minimum 350 words.

Or, if you simply want to see your own work featured here on my blog, which obviously has healthy SEO, based on the fact I am approached weekly by companies and fellow writers who request to be featured on my platform, as I am currently featured as CreditDonkey’s Best Dad Blog 2017, you can simply hire me for that option as well. Based on what other companies have already hired me to do over the past year, this is my rate:  

$100 per post.

Here are some recent examples of other companies and bloggers who hired me for that option:

Trail4Runner.com

Chicago Metro Home Inspections

Museum Hack

Superior Honda

Brian Leach

Are you ready to get started? Send me an email at nickshell1983@hotmail.com. I look forward to working with you. I will close by sharing some of my resume with you:


Nicholas Shane Shell, B.A.

Freelance Writer on Family Friendly Daddy Blog Since September 2009

  • Create, design, and maintain all website content, consisting of over 2300 individual posts written since the website’s inception.
  • Prepares photo gallery using Fotor to incorporate several photo collages per post.
  • Applies SEO techniques to selectively tag content to increase visibility by Google and carefully crafts titles for posts to drive traffic to site and ultimately increase readership.
  • Website has garnished over 2.1 million hits and currently averages 16,000 hits per month.
  • Invited multiple times to special events sponsored by Lexus and General Motors to feature dozens of vehicles both locally and regionally.
  • On rotation to receive and review vehicles from a “Family Friendly” perspective from a variety of companies, including, Lexus, Toyota, Scion, Fiat, Buick, Chevrolet and Nissan.
  • Invited to serve as the official host for Annie’s Homegrown during a scheduled Google Hangout session.
  • Featured three times on Word Presses’ Freshly Pressed homepage within the span of a year.
  • Sought out and hired on a regular basis for my SEO skills
  • Awarded with Best Dad Blog 2017/Top Parenting Experts by CreditDonkey

www.Parents.com/dadabase created through www.Parents.com

Freelance Blogger, May 2011- June 2014

  • Recruited by chief editor, Michael Kress, of Parents magazine’s website to become the official daddy blogger for Parents.com based on the independent success of personal blog.
  • Developed creative concept, researched, wrote and edited content for each individual (400-word minimum) post while incorporating a minimum of two photos to accent the subject matter.
  • Personally promoted each post using social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Has had nearly one million hits since inception; averages 13,000 hits per month; most hits in one day: 9,900.
  • Coined the title of the blog The Dadabase.

EDUCATION

Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia

Bachelor of Fine Arts

May 2005

Major: English

Honors:  Dean’s List

TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION

Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee

Certificate of Achievement, December 2012

       Course: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Learning System

Global English School, Bangkok, Thailand

ESL InstructorJune – July 2003 & June – July 2004

  • Instructed and prepared daily lesson plans covering a variety of subjects for approximately 25 elementary students.

Dear Holly: You Love Vegan Avocado Toast!

1 year, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

To say you are a picky eater is an understatement. Plus, like me, you have negative reactions to consuming dairy, so I am so happy to see you less dependent on milk for your food throughout the day. Even just since graduating from formula, your skin is looking much better.

Ah, finally- you are munching on food you have to chew.

As you can imagine, with you being born to a vegan father, I am eager to teach you from a very young age, how to get your proteins and fats from plants, like I do; as opposed to believing that protein and fat from animals is necessary in order to healthy, like our government teaches and like most people believe.

So when Mommy introduced you to avocado toast (bread, avocado, vegan butter, salt, pepper), and you actually loved it, I was in my glory. It’s quite typical on Saturday mornings for Mommy and me to have that for breakfast. Sort of on a whim, Mommy steered the avocado toast to your mouth, in the off chance you would actually taste it and try it.

Apparently, you thought it looked similar to the contents of all those organic fruit and veggie pouches we give you. Even though avocado tastes nothing like what you’re used to eating, you immediately went back for a second bite. And a third and a fourth…

Mommy actually had to make you a 2nd entire piece of vegan toast!

With your brother being a big fan of cheese, I know there’s no chance of me convincing him to convert from vegetarian to vegan until at least past his teenage years.

But as you, my dear daughter, I think I might just be able to corrupt you, I mean convince you of a life dependent on nuts and seeds for fat, instead of dairy.

I will keep trying to entice you…

In the meantime, I will make sure you have plenty of access to avocado toast!

Love,

Daddy

I am So Excited about the 2017 Toyota 4Runner I Get to Drive This Week!

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire!”

Those were the magic words I spoke, which caused my 2004 Honda Element to mysteriously morph into a 2017 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 Limited V6.

It’s like how Cinderella’s pumpkin turned into a wondrous carriage pulled by horses. Only way cooler.

So for the next nine days, until the clock strikes 11:30 AM on July 6th, I will get to be the proud driver of this undeniably tough (yet charming) machine of glory.

In the dozens of vehicles of featured on my blog over the years, my very favorite was the Toyota Tacoma. So obviously I have been looking forward for months now, knowing that a Toyota 4Runner was being delivered to me this week; as I find the two vehicles to be similar to each other.

This thing has the elegant look of a Storm Trooper, yet the unpredictable great power of Darth Vader.

Seriously, I am going to be so cool this week.

I’ve already had several co-workers stop me and tell me how jealous they are.

This 4Runner taps into a pocket of my psyche that I typically keep subdued on my blog.

After all, I’m the Family Friendly Daddy Blogger. Readers have certain demographic expectations of me:

Take lots of cute pictures of my kids while telling cute stories about them. Rinse and repeat.

And that’s what I will provide for my readers over the next week or so, as we enjoy some awesome upcoming adventures, being the Chip and Joanna Gaines kind of family that we truly are.

But this is me, breaking the 4th wall, to say, “I am a conservative husband and father living in the Suburbs… hear me roar!”

I suddenly feel so in control.

So powerful.

So… alive.