Dear Holly: You are the “Pop” Police, Calling Out People When They Pass Gas

1 year, 10 months.

Dear Holly,

I believe the most appropriate term to call you these days is rascal. You’re old enough to know you’re being cute while at the same time being sneaky. And on top of that, your sincere curiosity only adds to the cuteness and the sneakiness.

As you are now becoming quite ambitious in your attempts to add words to your vocabulary, you have stumbled upon the word pop. A couple of weeks ago while I was holding you, you passed a little bit of gas… I knew immediately as I felt the vibration on my arm.

You looked up at me, as if you were asking for my confirmation, and asked, “Pop?”

I obviously immediately laughed: “Yes, good. You did just have a pop.”

To equate passing gas with the word “pop” was not something I could credit anyone in our family with. You just took it upon yourself to associate the sound you made with a word you already knew.

Therefore, you now make a habit of announcing every time you pop. But what I really love about it is that you continue to still sort of ask for my confirmation.

And now you have moved on to calling out everyone else’s pops.

Without surprise, you say “pop” a lot when your brother is around. He enjoys your special skill in identifying his mischievous actions.

I will say, I didn’t expect that you’d be able to identify what it meant to pass gas, or that you’d have your own designated word for it, before your 2nd birthday.

But hey, you have a 7 year-old brother. It comes with the territory.

Therefore, sometimes without me even realizing what I have done, you’ll look up at me:

“Daddy, pop?”

That’s your special way of saying, “You and I are the only ones in the room right now- and I know it wasn’t me, so…”

Then I have to admit:

“Yep, that’s good, Holly. Daddy had a pop.”

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: Wearing Mommy’s Shoes, but Not in an Ironic Way

1 year, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

As I was working on the dishes in the kitchen, I heard Mommy calling me over from the bathtub in our bathroom, “Nick, come quick! And can you bring your camera?”

I entered our bathroom to find you stepping out of our walk-in closet, with a serious look on your face, as you carefully took each step while wearing a pair of Mommy’s shoes.

To be clear, you weren’t doing this to try to be funny in an ironic way. No; instead, you had simply taken it upon yourself to be like Mommy. Why shouldn’t you be able to wear Mommy’s shoes and walk around just like she does?

It never crossed your mind that her shoes are a much larger size than yours are. Nor did it matter.

You just kept strutting back and forth across the bathroom floor, while your family watched in amazement.

Yes, I have to say, it was quite impressive seeing you move in those shoes!

I don’t remember you falling, even once. Nor did you smile or laugh, even once.

Please know that Mommy, your brother Jack, and I were all laughing the entire time. You were unfazed.

Shoes are a big deal to you. It’s actually part of our daily routine that you walk to the shoe closet in the living room each morning and tap on the door, then you do a signature grunt which translates as, “Daddy, aren’t you going to open the door? I have to put my shoes on.”

Without fail, you always attempt to put the shoes on yourself, first. You sincerely struggle to figure out why they won’t just magically slip on, as you place them upside down on the soles of your feet.

Yeah, you love shoes. Who cares if they’re really Mommy’s? You’ve now proven that won’t hold you back.

Love,

Daddy

This is 36: How I Got Locked Outside of My House While Accidentally Wearing a Mustache

Tuesday afternoon my wife took our kids out to run an errand. We all had the day off, since we had just returned from our vacation to Florida. I decided to stay home while they were out, as it would give me about an hour and 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to finish unpacking from our trip.

The first order of business was actually to shave my beard. I had made a point not to shave while on vacation- just one less thing to worry about in my attempt to relax for a week in the sun.

I already had several days’ stubble before we even left for Destin, so by the time we got back nearly a week later, I had a decent beard going on.

But before I shaved it off, I decided to shoot a quick video for one of my YouTube channels, which caters to young men who are freaking out about seeing the first signs of hair loss. (Yes, I make a supplemental income from that; currently about $50 a month.)

I wanted to make a video which made it seem like people were demanding I grow a mustache, which is hilarious, because obviously a white guy under the age of 40 who isn’t a cop can’t get away with wearing a mustache.

So I shaved off everything but the mustache and walk outside, where there was better natural lighting, and began shooting the video; which again, was a complete joke in itself. I like to keep my 1500 YouTube subscribers on their toes.

 

But after I recorded the video, I realized I had locked myself out of the house. I knew it would be more than an hour before my wife came back home with the kids.

Then down came the rain, accompanied by some light thunder and lightning. And I was barefoot too.

At least I was able to find shelter on our covered front porch. Before my phone battery died, as I was down to about 15% at this point, I figured I might as well commemorate the occasion with a video explaining, behind the scenes, what had happened.

So there you go. That’s how I ended up locked outside of my own house, in the rain, barefoot, while accidentally wearing a mustache.

This is 36.

 

Dear Jack: The Ever-Hilarious and Glorious Choco Chimps

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: The Ever-Hilarious and Glorious Choco Chimps

Dear Jack,

As a family, we rarely go grocery shopping together. Typically, Mommy goes to Kroger while I stay home with you and your sister Holly. But last Sunday after church, it was just easier to get the shopping out of the way, so we decided to turn it into a family affair.

At one point, I had turned the corner to pick up a few Kombucha drinks. When I came back, I heard Mommy saying to you, “You’ll have to ask Daddy when he gets back…”

You looked up and saw me. Holding the brown box of chocolate corn puffs, which featured a joyous chimpanzee on the cover, you asked me with a cautious yet hopeful tone:

“Daddy, can I have Choco Chimps?”

Seriously, how could I say no? A 6 year-old boy with big blue eyes had just asked me such a ridiculous sounding question, with such a straight face.

(Just add the phrase Choco Chimps to anything you say and I’m probably going to laugh.)

The only problem was, I couldn’t stop laughing. For the rest of the time I was in the store, I kept finding myself in fits of literally LOL-ing about the absurd thought of a chimpanzee who authentically loved chocolate cereal so much that it had to be named after him.

And then the thought that my own sweet son wanted to eat that chimpanzee’s famous cereal…

Though I’m sure you wanted to get aggravated with me for cracking up over the concept of Choco Chimps, you let it go since I obviously said yes.

This morning before you started getting ready for school, you asked, “Daddy, will you pour me some Choco Chimps?”

Amazingly, I didn’t laugh, but instead simply made you aware: “Yes, but just know, this is all that’s left in the box.”

You clearly loved Choco Chimps this week as, indicated by the empty box I placed in recycling.

As you enjoyed the last of your enchanted cereal, I was packing everything in the car. When I returned a few minutes later, the bathroom door was shut, as I heard you whispering to your sister. I opened to the door to see you holding your her; both of your seemingly surprised I found you so quickly.

Holly clearly enjoyed the impromptu game of hide-and-seek with you.

It was time to brush your teeth, so I sat your sister down near our feet; as she typically likes to crawl through them like a cat. However, she quietly (and suspiciously) just sat there on the carpet, right outside the open bathroom door.

After I finished brushing your teeth and had sent you over to the front door to put on your socks, I kneeled down to Holly, to find out why she was being atypically non-curious.

I saw that her fist was closed, as she tried not to make it obvious she had a glorious treasure inside. Then with my thumb, I pried openher fingers, to discover…

A Choco Chimp!

Looks like little sister managed to convey the message, even without words:

“Brother, can I have a Choco Chimp?”

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The “What 3 Sounds Can You Make?” Misunderstanding

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: The “What 3 Sounds Can You Make?” Misunderstanding

Dear Jack,

Holly and I were quiet, just minding our own business. You presented Mommy with what appeared to be an engaging, impromptu game, when she heard you ask the question, “Mommy, what three sounds can you make?”

She answered nearly immediately: “I can make a lot of sounds.”

You insisted, “But Mommy, what three sounds can you make?”

Slightly confused, she answered you.

“Ding… dong… ppfffttt.”

You were not pleased nor impressed with her answer. So you repeated the question, “No, Mommy! What three sounds can you make?!”

She followed up with three more noises that didn’t quench your thirst for knowledge either:

“Beep… bop… boing.”

You were getting noticeably upset at this point; frustrated that Mommy was apparently not making the sounds you wanted to hear.

Was it some kind of impossible guessing game? How could Mommy possibly know which three sounds were the right answer?

Or maybe there was some kind of inside joke that Holly nor I were aware of? Maybe Mommy makes three sounds that are funny, and you wanted to hear them again, because no one else was as good at making those sounds?

Things were starting to get tense. So at that point, I asked you to stop playing the game, as I just wanted peace.

“Mommy, U makes three sounds, I can’t remember what they are!”

Then she and I finally realized what you were getting at.

“Oh! You’re asking me which three sounds the letter U can make?” she responded.

What we thought was a playful guessing game was instead you practicing your phonics, outside of school… by choice!

Mommy was able to tell you the three different sounds the letter U makes; like in the words put, truck, and prune.

At last, you were relieved.

You were just a 6 year-old boy trying to privately sort out how the confusing English language works, and your parents weren’t much help.

So next time you appear to engage us in a guessing game, I’ll assume it has something to do with phonics.

Love,

Daddy

FACT: I Am the Manliest Vegan on the Internet

There is no dispute. No one is even looking into it. Instead, the entire world simply unanimously accepts and agrees that I, Nick Shell, am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

What makes me such a manly vegan?…

First off, I am emotionally intelligent regarding my vegan lifestyle. Because I am fully secure in my beliefs, I have zero desire to try to convince others to become vegans. In fact, I would rather other people didn’t become vegans, especially not other men, because it keeps me more unique in my identity. (Approximately less than 0.5% of the American population are male vegans).

Second, I am a committed husband (been in love with the same woman for 10 years now; 8 and a half of which we’ve been married) and an involved father (hence, the daddy blog).

Plus, I am healthy and active. I am not a slave to my body; my body is a slave to me. I get plenty of protein (from vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds) and I am always on the move:

I run and I go mountain biking regularly, plus I go hiking and exploring with my son.

Next, I am a decisive leader and a good communicator. I don’t fear change, I embrace it. I always have a few back-up plans.

I am undeniably confident, yet aware of my weaknesses, which I am always working to improve.

Granted, I am very aware of my skills and talents, making sure I utilize them as part of my identity.

Most people have a hard time thinking of just one other male vegan they know. Even if they can think of a male vegan other than me, then the question becomes: Is he manly?

That question quickly evolves: But is he manlier than Nick Shell?

So far, history shows that the answer has always been… no.

As a blogger and YouTuber, I figured I might as well make it official in this announcement today:

I am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

FACT: I Am the Manliest Vegan on the Internet

Dear Jack: You Bought a Poop Emoji Hat… and You’re Very Proud of It!

6 years.

Dear Jack: You Bought a Poop Emoji Hat… and You’re Very Proud of It!

Dear Jack,

For your birthday, you had been planning to spend some of your $100 shopping spree money at Opry Mills Mall on a poop emoji stuffed animal you saw at a candy store; of all places. But once we arrived, the poop emoji doll was gone. You ended up buying a holiday-themed big-eyed animal instead.

But I figured it was just a matter of time before you would find a poop emoji to purchase…

This past weekend as we were waiting at the crosswalk to reach the Bridgestone Arena where the circus was taking place, a street vendor selling “the same stuff as inside” happened to also randomly have a poop emoji hat, in the likeness of a stuffed animal.

Mommy suggested you wait until after the circus was over before you decided how to spend your remaining $11 from your birthday money; to make sure there wasn’t anything you’d want more once you got inside to the circus.

Dear Jack: You Bought a Poop Emoji Hat… and You’re Very Proud of It!

I could tell for the last 20 minutes of the circus that you were distracted: You just wanted to get back to the street vendor to buy that poop emoji hat; assuming there was still one left.

The nice vendor man smiled and said, “That’ll be $15.”

We thought it was only $10 because earlier we had heard him name the prices of the light-up toys.

He saw that you had 11 one-dollar bills as you looked down into you vinyl skateboard-themed wallet.

“Oh, you’re using your own money? I’ll give it to you for $11 then.”

Needless to say, Poopy (as you’ve named it) has been a main character in your world since last Saturday. Poopy goes with you everywhere in the car and sleeps with you in the bed each night.

Dear Jack: You Bought a Poop Emoji Hat… and You’re Very Proud of It!

Not to mention, Poopy has made an appearance in your artwork at school. Not only did you do a profile picture of Poopy, but you also drew one of your classmates- with Poopy instead of the girl’s actual head.

Dear Jack: You Bought a Poop Emoji Hat… and You’re Very Proud of It!

She apparently liked your work. I’m almost surprised you didn’t tell me that other friends at school requested you to draw them with Poopy heads as well!

Love,

Daddy