August 12, 2016

My Pick for Best Dad Car of 2016

Let me first start by saying that I am NOT a car guy.

When I am looking for a new car, I look at a couple that I think look cool or practical and then I go to the experts and see what they have to say. A quick Google search usually leads me to a few reviews from various sites and then I'm left determining what it is that I actually want out of a vehicle and how much I am willing to pay.  I could test drive vehicles, but honestly who has that kind of time on their hands to test drive every car ever made.

Turns out the people at Kelley Blue Book do.

I was sitting in a parking lot with Rich Homan, one of their reviewers, who pointed out that he had driven every single car that was in the lot.  I don't know how many cars there were, but there had to be over 300 at the time.  Lucky for me that I am in the market for a new car AND I have one of the top car experts at my disposal. I spent the day with Rich as a guest of Kelley Blue Book and he explained to me how he went about reviewing a vehicle.  Stuff as basic as adjusting your rear view mirrors to how the car handles the on Southern California's roadways, Rich explained what went into each and every car review and how Kelley Blue Book comes up with their lists like The 16 Best Family Cars of 2016.

I was invited to Kelley Blue Book's Irvine, CA headquarters along with other dad bloggers to help whittle that list down to what I thought was the best "Dad Car" of 2016.  Before my trip, I assumed that we would be driving Lambourghinis and Ferraris, but as it turned out we were driving Hondas and Toyotas. The latter two make way more sense from a practical standpoint and as a dad, I am looking for practical when it comes to my car buying decisions.

To help make our decision on the top car a little easier Kelley Blue Book picked what they thought were the five best cars for dads out of their list of 16.  They were:

I started by reviewing the Toyota Sienna. I admittedly went in with the opinion that I would love this car.  I currently drive a minivan and can't see myself driving anything else.  They have everything that I need; space, sliding doors, and all the amenities you could ever ask for.  I don't understand what everyone's hangups are over minivans.  It's a car. I've driven the Sienna before and knew what I was getting myself into.  It was roomy, sporty, and everything that my family of four (and a dog) would need. It might be a little more expensive than the smaller sedans, but it seems that the price of the average family vehicle has creeped up over $30,000 which puts the Sienna right in line with everyone else.

The second car that I reviewed was the Kia Optima. I hated it. I felt too low to the ground, didn't handle as well as the Sienna, and you could feel every bump that we hit. Maybe it's just that I am used to the legroom of the minivan, but the back seat seemed cramped.  I envisioned my kids complaining all the time about how they had no room to stretch their legs out.  I will only remember the Kia as the vehicle that took me and Dad and Buried to In-N-Out Burger (don't tell anyone else that we went there, OK?)

The third car that we reviewed was the Chevy Tahoe.  I know most dads would think that this was the car that they would go for.  It's spacious, it's stylish, and it makes you look like you own the road. You could fit an entire baseball team inside, but who really needs that?  While the Tahoe is a beautiful car and everything that I would need, the problem is that it is TOO big.  It's not a car that I could fit in my garage and when you live in the northeast, that's an issue.  My driving partner Dad and Buried had the same issues living in NYC, street parking would be almost impossible with a vehicle this size.  Throw in the sticker price of $48,000 and I just don't know how the average family can own this car.

The fourth car that we reviewed was the Honda Civic.  Much like the Kia the Civic felt small.  I'm not sure how this car could be considered a family car except for the sticker price which was considerably lower than all the others.  Even if you had smaller kids or a baby for that matter in a rear-facing child seat, the lack of space was hard to get past.  When you are a parent, you have to carry an arsenal of supplies and the Civic just doesn't cut it.  While it handled well, I just don't know how it would handle the northeast winters.  I look at the Civic as a good car BEFORE you have a family, but then you have to graduate to something a little bigger when you have kids.

The fifth car that we reviewed was the Subaru Outback. When were sitting in the parking lot with Rich Holman, he said that if he had to drive only car for the rest of his life it would be this car.  If the Zombie Apocalypse were to happen he could envision himself off roading in this vehicle to escape the devastation.  While that's not likely to happen, I can see his point. If I wasn't such a fan of the minivans, THIS would be the type of car that I would get.  It's small enough to fit in my garage, yet big enough for the family to stretch out.  It has enough storage space in the back, and I can envision piling my bikes on the roof.

When all was said and done, my choice for best Dad Car of 2016 is the Toyota Sienna, a MINIVAN, But don't just take my word for it. Visit Kelley Blue Book. They are THE go to resource for all your buying and selling needs.

**This is sponsored post on behalf of Life of Dad and Kelley Blue Book.  I have received compensation, but the opinions are my own.  I mean, I picked a minivan for crying out loud.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 16, 2016

To the Man Behind the Door

I know that you are scared.

You have no idea what is going to happen on the other side of that door. The world as you know it is about to change. You think life is moving pretty fast now, but as soon as those doors open up, it's going to get exponentially faster.

I know why you are crying.

You aren't sure if you are ready for this.  Trust me, nobody really is. The door that sits in front of you is like a portal to the unknown.  It's a whole different universe; filled with sleepless nights and hours upon hours of worry. You will worry if you are good enough. You will worry if you are doing enough.  You will worry that you worry too much.

I know what you can expect because I sat in that same seat.

I was you.  I was the guy that really wasn't into your wife's pregnancy that much.  I was the type that needed it to be over and have the baby arrive before I showed any sort of emotion.  Nothing was real until I heard a tiny baby cry and the doctors yell out, "It's a boy!" That's when it hit me; it was no longer just about me.

I know what you are feeling.

What if I'm not a good dad? What if I yell a lot? What if the baby cries? What if they hate sports? What if they hate me? All of that will happen and more.  There will be so many emotions that hit you as a parent that you didn't even know you had. You will cry when your baby takes his first steps, you will cry when your baby scores their first soccer goal, you will cry when you drop off your baby for the last day of preschool. The point is, you will cry all the time.

And that's OK.

I will leave you with one bit of advice before I leave.  None of us really have any idea what we are doing.  None of us are experts. We're all in the same boat. Just go through those doors and be there.  Be there for your kid.  When they need you... BE THERE.

Go through those doors and thank your baby for the man you are about to become.

This Father's Day Pampers celebrates the incredible feeling little ones bring to the hearts of dads through unconditional love. On Father's Day as well as every day Pampers is giving thanks to babies for making dad feel exceptionally special and empowering him to discover new roles through fatherhood. Pampers is honoring dads for all that they do.  Please join them in tweeting why you are most thankful for baby using the hashtag #ThanksBaby.

You can find Pampers on the web at or on Facebook and Twitter.

DISCLOSURE: I partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers on this promotion.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?