Dear Jack: In 3 Weeks’ Time, You Watched All 50 Episode of Disney’s Bunk’d for the 1st Time

7 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

We began our recent two week-long family vacation in northern California by staying a few nights in a cabin in Truckee, which is just a 25 minute drive from Lake Tahoe. Whenever we travel, you discreetly take advantage of the fact that I tend to let you get away with binge watching The Disney Channel.

It was then and there you were introduced to a summer camp-themed kids’ show called Bunk’d.

By the 5th episode, you had already memorized all the words to the opening theme song and were singing along.

When I was kid, the summer camp-themed show for kids to watch was Salute Your Shorts or even Hey Dude. But for your generation, it’s definitely Bunk’d.

I think the fact we were staying up in the mountains of California only reinforced the concept of the show. We even ended up going out on pedal boat on Lake Tahoe, thanks to your insisting on it.

Could that notion have been inspired by the adventures you had been seeing on Bunk’d? I submit that it was.

By the time we got back to Grandma’s house where we stayed for most of our 2 weeks, you were able to continue watching your new favorite show each day on her TV.

Meanwhile, back at our home in Tennessee where we only have the free channels that came bundled with our Internet, you discovered that Bunk’d is on Netflix!

Needless to say, you spent all of your designated screen time on finishing every episode you didn’t already see in California. Apparently, you watched 50 episodes of Bunk’d in about 3 weeks’ time.

But never fear, it just so happened that the newest season of Bunk’d, Season 3, recently premiered. So give it until Christmas vacation, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to watch the entire new season before you even get a chance to open the presents.

Love,

Daddy

 

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Dear Holly: Could You BE Anymore Obsessed With Minnie Mouse Clothes?!

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

You are at a point where you have all the toys that I could imagine you’d even have time to play with.

With your 2nd birthday a month behind you, Mommy reminded me you still had a gift card with money on it. We couldn’t justify using it to buy you another toy, especially knowing that you undeniably have a certain interest that even overpowers toys:

Minnie Mouse clothes!

Your obsession is pretty bad, actually. After Mommy carefully selected the best Minnie Mouse clothes for you online using the gift card, you were so excited to open them a few days later in the mail.

Needless to say, you wanted to wear one of the shirts immediately; which meant you would wear it to dinner and to bed.

You accidentally spilled some oatmeal on it, to the point it would need to be washed.

But Mommy had a feeling that you were going to want to wear it the next day as well. So while you were asleep that night, she put it in the laundry.

And yes, you wore it the entire next day as well.

If you had it your way, Minnie Mouse would be on every single outfit you wore, including your pajamas.

I’m not sure how and when you discovered your love for Minnie Mouse, or even why you like her so much, but truly, you are obsessed!

Never mind about the new toys you could have right now. You’re all set.

In fact, I’m convinced you’d rather have Minnie Mouse clothes than another Minnie Mouse doll or Minnie Mouse toy anyway.

You are obsessed with Minnie Mouse the same way your brother was obsessed with Thomas the Train at your age.

There must be something about Minnie Mouse and 2 year-old little girls that makes them the perfect match for each other!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Weekend of Visitors

6 weeks.

Dear Holly,

You are a popular little girl. This past weekend, our family mainly stayed home and got to chill out while the activities came to us.

First, on Saturday, Mommy’s boss’s wife and son came to see you, making your brother Jack’s day by bringing him a new Lego set, which he built by the time they left.

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Shortly after, Mommy’s good friend from work, Lena, came along with her husband Mohamed and their young daughter Hanna, who is just a few months older than you.

We placed you and Hanna next to each other on a blanket to see how you would interact. I pointed out to everyone that it was if you were looking into the mirror, seeing your reflection.

Hanna’s Mommy Lena added, “Yes, the Middle Eastern version of herself.” We all laughed, because with your fairer, pink-toned skin, it sort of is the difference between Elsa from Frozen and Jasmine from Aladdin.

Dear Holly: Your Weekend of Visitors

I know the two of you will grow up knowing each other, as we have been friends with her family for a while now.

The next day, on Sunday, your brother Jack’s longtime friend Madison and her family came to visit you.

Jack and Madison attended the same preschool for several years.

Her family also graciously brought us dinner, which for a vegan/vegetarian family… I know might seem a bit intimidating.

But just like the last family who brought us dinner, the Crawfords, they brought us a fresh vegan pizza from Whole Foods.

Dear Holly: Your Weekend of Visitors

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just stay at home at chill out at the house for the weekend, which is basically what we did. But at the same time, we were able to see people.

This past weekend was undeniably your weekend of visitors. As for this coming weekend, we’ll be taking you and your brother Jack to the Reptile Show. We’ll see how you do on that outing to help determine how often in the future we’ll be able to get out of the house with you.

We would love to take another road trip… like to Florida. But the reality of it is, it’s probably not wise to take a baby like you on a road trip right now.

 Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your 1st Introduction to a VHS Tape- Disney’s Benji the Hunted (from 1987)

5 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: Your1st Introduction to a VHS Tape- Disney’s Benji the Hunted (from 1987)

Dear Jack,

This past weekend, I taught you how to use the VHS side of our DVD player. You now understand the concept of watching a movie on a tape; something I’m not sure most of your friends can say they’ve done before. So they might look at you funny if you mention it to them at school.

On Friday, a coworker brought in a huge Rubbermaid tub full of VHS movies to give away. I instantly grabbed Benji the Hunted, which I was very familiar with; as it was part of my school’s library when I was a kid, meaning I saw it many times as a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s- especially when a teacher came in to work sick but wasn’t willing to admit it and therefore lose a sick day or vacation day.

Dear Jack: Your1st Introduction to a VHS Tape- Disney’s Benji the Hunted (from 1987)

I suppose there’s a decent amount of irony involved in the fact that our family has been driving a fancy 2016 Lexus IS 200t this week. I dropped the VHS tape in your baby sister Holly’s car seat and safely delivered the tape home to you for us to enjoy over the weekend.

Dear Jack: Your1st Introduction to a VHS Tape- Disney’s Benji the Hunted (from 1987)

In this 1987 Disney movie, Benji the dog must help save some mountain lion cubs from predatory animals of the Oregon forest and eventually be rescued by his owner who is searching for him in a helicopter. There’s hardly any dialogue in this movie; mainly just animals chasing each other around in the woods.

It was right up your alley. You love animals.

And you were impressed by the fact they were real animals, unlike what you’re used to seeing on all those talking animal movies you see on Netflix.

Once the movie was over, I explained the concept of having to rewind the movie. You were slightly fascinated by the fact that the movie just turned black and stopped once it was over.

You are a cultured boy. In the same weekend you got to see the new Captain America movie in the theater, you also saw a 29 year-old movie on an old VHS tape.

I suppose it’s been a weekend of entertainment… and education.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your1st Introduction to a VHS Tape- Disney’s Benji the Hunted (from 1987)

I Cry Every Time I Watch Inside Out (and I am a Man)

I Cry Every Time I Watch Inside Out

It’s true and I am not ashamed. I know that’s technically the least masculine blog title I have ever used, but I am comfortable with it.

I took my son to see Inside Out this past summer when it first came out, then we watched it as a family this weekend now that it’s out at Redbox.

Granted, I’ve only seen it twice so far, but I am confident that I will never be able to keep dry eyes for any future viewings of it. Still, I can legitimately proclaim that I cry every time I watch Inside Out.

Just to be clear, if you were sitting next to me while watching Inside Out, you wouldn’t know I was crying.

You wouldn’t hear anything about of me.

But if you simply turned to me to look me in the eyes, you would see tears running down both sides of my face.

Yes, it’s suppressed crying, but it’s still crying.

Sunday night after the movie ended, my wife, my son, and I all looked at each other’s wet cheeks, then laughed at the fact we all just saw proof of each other crying.

It’s not that Inside Out is a sad movie, because I don’t believe that it is.

Instead, with it being a movie about emotional intelligence, Inside Out undeniably reveals the love that involved parents have for their children.

The movie provides an enlightening experience as it reminds us that the emotion of sadness is necessary and vital; especially as it strengthens family relationships.

I might just have to proclaim that Inside Out is officially my favorite Disney movie, ever. It appears the general public agrees, as the movie has earned an impressive 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

And it has been nominated for an Oscar for best animated feature film.

It’s one of the few Disney movies to not adhere to the stereotype that the protagonist’s parents are dead. Instead, her parents are alive and well, and are actually good people.

Compare them to Elsa and Anna’s parents, in Frozen, who instead of confronting the issue that one of their daughters had a special power that makes her different, they basically locked up both of their daughters and kept them from interacting with each other. And if that psychological drama wasn’t enough, then the parents had to die, like almost every other Disney protagonist’s parents.

Of course, there is a very legitimate theory that Riley, the protagonist of Inside Out, is adopted.

But whether she is or is not adopted, that doesn’t change the fact that the movie does a wonderful job of expressing from the inside out what it’s like to be a parent and a kid who is part of a loving family.

And again, it’s also a fact that I’ll cry every time I watch this movie.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

21 weeks.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

Dear Holly,

By turning one of your recent sonogram profiles sideways, I am able to catch a glimpse of what you might look like once you are born. I had done this with your brother Jack, and he turned out looking like what I would expect, sans the sandy colored hair and blue eyes.

I see how you look like Mommy already. Particularly, I see some French and Croatian in there from her genes.

However, Mommy and I do both believe you will have darker traits, unlike your brother Jack.

The “baby gifts” are starting to come in the mail from family members. So therefore, your bedroom is starting to fill up with clothing that will help compliment your assumed personality.

Jack picked out that doll as his gift from him to you.

Mommy and I predict you will be a feminine girl, not a tomboy. However, we don’t see you as a particularly sensitive or dainty little girl either.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

Speaking of dolls, I saw this bunny doll today at Brilliant Sky and sent the picture to Mommy. We both instantly agreed that this style summarizes our thoughts regarding what you’ll be like:

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

As Mommy worded it yesterday, “Holly won’t be a princess, just like Jack isn’t a prince.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with adopting such romantic and royal concepts, I just suppose it’s not our family’s style or culture.

(It doesn’t help that I loathe the movie Frozen because the whole plot could have been prevented had the parents not been psychos who locked their daughters in their bedrooms. On the other hand, I applaud and celebrate Inside Out for its intelligent plot revolving around a young girl and her developing emotional intelligence.)

We believe that the environment we will raise you in will make you a very independent, yet laid back little girl.

As I imagine Jack bumping into you with his toy cars, I see you laughing about it instead of crying.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

I picture you naturally wanting to join in whatever weird activity your brother Jack is doing, convincing yourself that soaking Halloween candy in warm saltwater (instead of eating it) is normal.

Sure, you’ll love baby dolls and tutus. But you’ll also have access to Jack’s exhaustive Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels collection.

Plus, I think my personal love for outdoors and adventure will guide you in becoming a fun little girl who is able to keep up with your brother and me.

Granted, you’ll also be exposed to all my quirky musical and video-making antics.

I am so excited to think about the fun little girl you will become.

Love,

Daddy

My Pitch to the Studios, as a Children’s TV Show Host

dichotomy

Editor’s Note:

I will be emailing the following letter to the same casting agency that reached out to me a few months ago to interview and potentially invite my family to participate in the upcoming reality TV show, The Family Project on NBC.

After that, this letter will then be going out to the all the casting agencies and directors for all the major children’s (and family) television networks; including PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney, TLC, Animal Planet, and The Discovery Channel.

Dear [casting agencies for television studios of major networks that feature children’s programming],

I believe you may be interested in meeting me. I think I can solve your problem in that I am who you are looking for if you are currently in need of a children’s television host.

However, please do not take my word for it…

Instead, simply watch me at work. My passion is creating original content to entertain children; as I have a 5 year-old son, as well as a daughter due to be born in April.

Just watch this quick webisode of my newest web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Everything you see here is original content. I write, produce, and direct my shows; as well as serve as the protagonist and voices to the animal characters:

I write and perform my own songs, just like the beloved Mr. Fred Rogers did. I play both guitar and harmonica; and obviously sing.

You will see how I simply engage children in nostalgic ways, similar to that beloved uncle everyone has.

To further showcase my acting and production skills, as well as my musical talent and over all creativity, I also ask you to watch a short webisode of my other original web series, Jack-Man; which is a sci-fi super hero show starring my son and me.

In this series, you will see my acting skills as a villain; not just simply the kind and warm “Uncle Nick” character I play on my other series. Again, I created all of this content from scratch, including the lyrics, music, and performance of the songs.

Also, I already have a following on my website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog; where I maintain a minimum of 15,000 views per month. (For 3 years, I had previously served as the official daddy blogger for Parents.com; the website for the legendary Parents magazine.)

Thank you so much for your time and consideration today. Even if I never hear back from you, please know I will continue creating original content to entertain and engage children in the YouTube world; knowing that one day I will get my big break.

Granted, I hope that “big break” comes from you.

Sincerely,

Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog