What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

I’m not against Facebook. I think it’s a great thing. However, a month ago I had to go 4 days without any Internet (and therefore, Facebook) as we were moving into our new house.

When I finally did check Facebook, I realized that life went out without me… and I didn’t feel like I missed anything.

Prepare for the Hallmark movie cliché, but it showed me that my family right in front of me is all that really matters.

So from there I decided to stop checking my Facebook homepage for the following month; that time period ended today. However, the 30 day self-assigned pledge has inspired me to continue staying off my Facebook homepage.

I no longer am exposed to snarky, annoying, self-serving comments; including being tempted to post my own. My exposure to negativity has decreased by 100%; though I admit there’s probably not a true way to measure the validity of that percentage decrease.

But I feel it. I feel great. My quality of life has improved since nixing my Facebook homepage.

There is something called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) that is apparently increased by social media. Apparently, I have less subconscious anxiety in my life because I have less exposure to the news I’m apparently missing out on.

Can you gossip about yourself? If so, Facebook is the platform. I’d rather not tune in to people gossiping about themselves, about the the news, about groups of people, or whatever else can fall into that category.

I should point out too that I cancelled the ability for my phone to receive any messages based on Facebook activity too.

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

Another part of my pledge was to only start publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursdays, which helps me focus on living “real life” with my family and not being distracted by daily focusing on publishing new stuff.

That decision has proven successful for me. I am happier now that I am only posting new material one night per week, all at once. Therefore, that’s really the only time I’m needing to log in to Facebook anywhere.

I don’t feel socially disconnected since locking myself out of my Facebook homepage.

Friday begins the National Day of Unplugging (March 6-7, 2015). Of course, I’m taking the pledge. It’s pretty much my life now anyway.

It’s not right for everybody, but it’s definitely right for me. In the past month I have learned that my personal happiness can truly be measured by my lack of exposure to my Facebook homepage and having to feel pressured to daily post new stuff on my blog.

Dear Jack: 1st Day Of Fall/Mountain Biking Selfie Explanation

3 years, 10 months.

mountain biking selfie

Dear Jack,

You almost got to see your 1st tow truck in action yesterday morning. As I was driving you to school, the radio cut off, I lost power steering, and the fuel gauge dropped to empty.

I warned you that we may have to stop driving.

By a miracle of God, I was able to make it to the parking lot of KinderCare and drop you off. But from there, my 2004 Honda Element wouldn’t start.

So I called a tow truck and ran back inside to get you so you could watch my car get towed.

Fortunately, my car started back again once the tow truck arrived and I was able to drive it around the block to Firestone; it needed a new alternator, for starters…

Car Trouble? Need A Tow? No Problem... I've Got A Mountain Bike!

Also fortuately, I had access to my mountain bike, which fits into the back of my Honda Element along with our jogging stroller, so I was able to bike back to work until my car was ready several hours later.

It was an adventure of a day for us! And that’s how we started the first day of fall.

Autumn is by far my favorite season and it appears it is yours as well. For the past two mornings before walking you into school, you have asked to walk over into the school’s front lawn and pick out a fallen leaf.

Monday morning, you saw two baby deer on the way to school and two more on the way back, explaining to me, “It’s getting colder now so the deers come out for food.”

Well, even though it appears to be the shortest of seasons, I’m glad that the two of us can truly appreciate the subtle yet undeniable beauty of Autumn.

To celebrate it even more, we’re planning a family friendly road trip to Asheville, North Carolina in the next couple of weeks. I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty awesome!



Annie's Halloween Snacks


Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus Wrecks

January 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm , by 

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

In the middle of our test drive of the 2014 Lexus LS 460, you spotted a giant metal robot on the side of the road.

We were all pretty curious, so on this past Christmas morning, around 9:00, we pulled the Lexus into the parking lot of a place calledThe Junkyard.

To be honest, the facility might be the equivalent of the Area 51 of northern Alabama. It’s quite mysterious.

From what I could tell, it appears to be a place where people can book party events. And as part of the ambiance, they have a giant robot named named Lirpa-Anad-Nitsud, by Ekim Snaggog.

As I put together these photo collages of our mini-road trip adventure, I figured out the code: “Lirpa-Anad-Nitsud” is backwards for April-Dana-Dustin and “Ekim Snaggog” is Mike Goggans.

I grew up with a girl namedJess Goggans whose mother is Dana Goggans; whose name is part of the encrypted code I just mentioned. Jess is now a chef and owner of a nearby restaurant called The Hardware Cafe which features her band.

So evidently, her family created these magical works of art for the world to enjoy.

Behind the building, in the backyard behind a wooden fence, were several other “junkyard creatures,” one of them being Junkasaurus Wrecks; a huge dinosaur created out of old car parts, like the robot.

After having just visited the off-beat church that was built into a giant rock, this place seemed to be the perfect follow-up, given its dream-like existence.

Yes, it was one of the most random ways to spend a Christmas morning with Daddy, Papa, and Uncle Andrew.

And of course, let me just point out the obvious irony:

We were driving a luxurious (!) 2014 Lexus LS 460 when we stumbled upon the place. I think that brand-new Lexus has already lived a quite interesting life in its 1600 miles so far.

What would have made more sense is if we had been driving a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser J40, the awesome retro predecessor of the modern day FJ Cruiser; which I hear is in its final year of production.

But no, we were driving the nicest car I’ve ever driven (or will drive?) in my life.

Funny story, huh?

That’s the kind of thing you can expect by having a daddy like me. I just seem to find myself in these peculiar and unscripted situations.

Hey, maybe it’s where I’m from? After all, my hometown of Fort Payne, AL is where Junkasaurus Wrecks lives.

He and I grew up on the same stompin’ grounds!

I think there’s something to be said about that. While growing up in a state that is so often parodied in media and is so easily reduced to the stereotypical lyrics of a Country music song, the part of the state I grew up in was actually pretty woodsy and artsy.

Sort of like Oregon and Colorado and Maine all combined.

Plus, it didn’t help that I had a very eccentric Italian grandfather from Kenosha, WI, and a Mexican grandmother from Buffalo, NY; who I will be featuring very soon in an upcoming letter.

Basically, I had no chance of being an average, normal guy. And you are my son. In other words, no matter what we do, life will be interesting for our family.

Because we will make it that way, when it isn’t already.





Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Lexus, for the purpose of reviewing.

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2014 Lexus LS 460: 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveJourney To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus WrecksWhat Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The GrandparentsGrandma Regifts As-Seen-On-TV “Perfect Polly” To Great-GrandsonI’ve Heard Of Sleepwalking, But… Sleep-Eating And Sleep-Playing?

2013 Avalon Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveA Family That Recycles Together Doesn’t Decompose

2013 Toyota Rav4: 2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Toyota Tundra: Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort OfNashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Toyota Sienna: We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now


Why I Just Googled, “What Does ‘Soaked Up’ Mean?”

November 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm , by 

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Yes, I know what “soaked up” means; it means that something has either physically absorbed a substance or that a person has absorbed new information.

But after the way you used the phrase today, I just wanted to make sure there’s not some underground slang used nearly 3 year-olds that I didn’t know about.

Turns out, there’s not. Google had nothing new to teach me, on this one.

This morning while we were at church, a friend Mommy and I both knowwalked up to us and with a whispered, dead pan performance, and jokingly explained to you that your parents shouldn’t need a nametag to identify their own son.

(Our church’s daycare requires computer-printed nametags for safety reasons.)

You didn’t say a word to him. You just stared at him with a somewhat serious face during his joke.

As soon as we got back to the car, you asked Mommy and me, “Why was that man soaked up?”

For the entire car ride home, we were inquisitive as to what you meant by him being “soaked up.”

“Did you think he was wet, somehow?” Mommy asked you.

“No! He wasn’t wet… he was soaked up,” you explained.

There was nothing about his appearance that should have seemed any bit out of the ordinary. So maybe “soaked up” had something to do with the way he was talking to you?

For the rest of the afternoon, I tried to use context clues to figure out the meaning of this mysterious phrase. But I was unsuccessful in getting you to say it a second time. And when I said “soaked up,” you just adamantly insisted that I was wrong to say it.

I suppose this is one of those mysteries I will take to my grave.

Like, why does the witch in the Wizard of Oz melt away simply by getting water poured on her? Why was it not problematic for there to be so few female Smurfs compared to males?

Most importantly, what does “soaked up” mean when referred to another human being, if it has nothing to do with them being wet in any way.

Only you hold the answer, Son.

The interesting thing is that simply by writing this letter to you today, I’ve helped make “soaked up” more identifiable in a non-traditional sense. In other words, I’m enabling your strange vocabulary.





Counting Random Cell Phone Keyboards, Like A Boss

October 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm , by 

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Some things in life just can’t be explained. For example, why are there over a dozen cell phone keyboards in the parking lot of your school?

Since a couple of weeks ago when we started parking next to your teachers’ Mustangs, we discovered a strange array of cell phone keyboards as we got out of my car.

It’s so strange…

There are no other cell phone parts anywhere else around. Just the keyboards.

Are cell phone keyboards hot on the black market right now?

Did a cell phone keyboard bandit run across your school’s parking lot, carrying hundreds of them over his shoulder in a giant sack, that happened to have a slit in it, causing many of them to fall onto the ground?

That’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Needless to say, you’re pretty fascinated by the mystery (and possible government conspiracy?) of these cell phone keyboards.

Our new daily tradition is that every time we now get out of or into our car in the school parking lot, you like to get down and count them.

Today when I picked you up from school, your teacher Ms. Lauren updated me on the funny thing you said to her this time:

“Ms. Lauren, there’s cell phones in the parking lot. I counted them. There’s 10 of them!”

You’re right. You indeed count 10 of them each time.

It is because of the cell phone keyboards that I now officially know you can count to 10. Because you do it at least once a day now.

Even without meaning to, you found a way to test out what you learn at school.

I think it’s safe to say that cell phone keyboards may be the most peculiar thing you will ever use in the process of learning to count.

As for the mystery of how they got there, I guess we’ll just have to ask God when we get to Heaven one day.