July 16, 2015

How a Bike Brought our Family Closer Together #KINDMilesMatter

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and KIND for this promotion.

Like most families we are always on the go. Unfortunately it always seems to be in different directions.  With a busy wife and two kids involved in different activities the family walk has turned into just me and the dog.  Even when we are all together, one kid wanted to ride his bike, the other wanted to ride his scooter, the dog wanted to stop and sniff every mailbox, and the walk was just a pain.

That is until my youngest son learned how to ride a bike.

He had no interest in riding a bike until a few weeks ago.  He was perfectly content with riding his scooter around the neighborhood even though most of his friends knew how to ride a bike years ago. I have always dreaded teaching my kids to ride a bike; I just don't have the patience that it takes.  I look at a kid and wonder why it's so hard for them to get it. I mean there's a phrase "like riding a bike" for a reason.  But I was tired of having my kids going in separate directions all the time so it was time for him to finally learn.

Moments after declaring he was riding home he crashed into a parked car... But I think we've made great progress.
Posted by Daddy's in Charge? on Thursday, June 25, 2015

Now that we all knew how to ride bikes it was time to get moving... and get moving we did.  At first we only rode our bikes around the neighborhood.  We live in a pretty quiet street with not much traffic.  It's perfect for riding our bikes around, but after a while it gets boring.  Fortunately for us we had planned a trip to my parents house in upstate New York and it's the perfect place to go for LONG bike rides.

Our first ride was four miles.  It was a pretty flat trip but it was a good start.  The next day my son Tyler decided that he wanted to go FARTHER so farther we went NINE MILES IN TOTAL. But we weren't done there. I took him on a trip around my old hometown of Geneseo, New York and we biked on the same streets that I used to ride when I was a kid.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

We rode 12 miles that day.  I have never ridden 12 miles in my life, and here my son Tyler did it at only 10 years old.  It's really unbelievable to think about.

Of course my younger son, who just learned how to ride, did not want to be upstaged by his older.  He decided that he wanted to go on a long ride himself.  So we did.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

We rode seven miles that day.  Seven miles for a kid that just learned how to ride a bike two weeks ago is amazing.  Of course I had to stress out every time that he swerved into the middle of the road or veered off into the shoulder, but since there was no traffic it wasn't too much of an issue.

Not all of our journeys involved our bikes though.  There were plenty of hikes as well.  When you are in Upstate New York there are plenty of places that you can go and find some amazing scenery.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

Letchworth State Park

I shared all of this because I have partnered with Life of Dad and KIND Snack Bars who were nice enough to donate a box of KIND Bars for every mile that I moved this summer with my family.  It started off slow as it was only me and the dog who ever wanted to get out for a walk, but once my kids got on those bikes, the miles started adding up.  Thanks to this campaign, KIND will be donating 54 boxes of KIND Snack Bars to my son's elementary school all because I spent time getting exercise with my kids.  What a deal!

KIND turned out to be the perfect snack for those long bike rides as well.  While they weren't the most strenuous of rides (The kids are only 10 and 8, so we won't be doing the Tour de France anytime soon) nothing beat a KIND bar to help us fulfill our hunger afterwards.

If you aren't  familiar with KIND bars, since its founding in 2004, KIND has been on a mission to make the world a little kinder one snack and act at a time. All award-winning KIND snacks are made from delicious, wholesome ingredients and are gluten free and non GMO. KIND currently offers six different snack lines including: KIND® Fruit & Nut and KIND® PLUS, two lines of delicious whole nut & fruit bars; KIND® Nuts & Spices, a line of whole nut & spice bars that naturally have only 5g of sugar or less; KIND Healthy Grains® Clusters made from five super grains; KIND Healthy Grains® Bars, a line of crunchy and chewy granola bars; and STRONG & KIND®, a line of savory-flavored bars featuring 10g of protein.

KIND has partnered with Made to Matter - Handpicked by Target, a program in which Target has selected brands that have supported three distinct pillars (unique collaborative partnerships, innovation, social responsibility) in an effort to offer their consumers better-for-you and better-for-the-world products.

What do you say?  Let's get out with the family and get moving this summer!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 23, 2015

My Son's First Car

My son is turning 11 (?!) in a couple of weeks and we have already started to talk about getting him his first car.  I know it sounds strange to think about something that he won't use for another six years, but these kids grow up fast and before you now it he will be a 17 year old kid driving himself to high school.  The thought of those two things makes me want to cry, but life just doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

The reason that we have been discussing his first car is because my wife has been talking about getting a new car herself.  The timing seems to be about right.  She owns the car for the next six years and then we hand it down to our son when he is ready to drive.  You might think we are spoiling our kids, but even I was handed down a car to use when I was young.  He will have to pay for things like insurance and gas, but a six year old car that will hopefully still be in good shape will be his, assuming he wants it.  And what teen ager looking for a little freedom wouldn't?

I can remember my first car. My parents used to drive nothing but K Cars.  I think my dad said it was because they were easy to fix and the parts were cheap.  After we got rid of our green Chevy Nova and our Ford Station Wagons with the rear fold out seats, it was nothing but K Cars for the next 10 years.  

Ain't she a beauty?

So that's what I ended up with when I got older.  It was this beauty of a wagon with the paneling and also a grey sedan.  Shockingly I have no pictures of that vehicle whatsoever... who would?  This wasn't the coolest car, but when you are 18 does it really matter?  It had wheels and when it wasn't in the shop it got me from point A to point B.  A babe magnet it was not, but it was a conversation piece. There's a sense of freedom you get by having a car, even one as ugly as this one.

The only picture of the two together, what a moment.

The first car that I ever bought myself was a Dodge Neon.  They no longer made the K Car at that time, and this seemed like the next best option.  It was cheap and it was red.  It lasted about seven years until the brakes went and the floor started to leak every time that it rained.  It stunk like mildew because it never seemed to dry out.  My wife and I bought a Volkswagen Jetta after we got married.  I was so sick of driving the Neon that I would take the Jetta work every chance that I got. It was fun to drive.

A couple of years ago when my niece was old enough to drive and needed a car we gave her our old Jetta.  At that point we had bought a new car and instead of getting rid of it, we handed it down to her.  It needed a little bit of work, but for a first car it's been great for her. Not surprisingly 13 years after we bought it, it still runs.

This is the day we took Carter home from the hospital

Perhaps my favorite car that we have owned was the first car that we had as a family, a Honda Pilot.  We brought both of our kids home from the hospital after they were born in this car.  At the time neither of us were ready to get a minivan, but our thoughts on that have changed.  We are now a minivan family.

So I don't know what kind of car we are going to get my wife and in turn my son.  My wife kind of wants a two door convertible, but I just don't think that's practical and I can't send my son to school driving a nicer car than I would be.  Part of me just wants to go and find a 25 year old K car and force him to drive around in that, but my son is way cooler than I was at his age and that wouldn't be fair.

Of course with any vehicle we need to think about safety first. When my son is ready to drive we will have to stress to him that auto accidents are the number one killer of teens in America.  They account for over 5000 deaths annually and the summer period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are often referred to as the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers.

Michelin wants us to know that of the 2.2 million accidents that occur with inexperienced drivers annually, 12% are caused by tire related issues. Driving on under inflated tires or tires with low tread depth can lead to safety issues on the roadways.  Fortunately accidents due to improperly maintained tires can be preventable.  By checking your tire pressure monthly and knowing how to judge your tread depth, Michelin knows they can reduce the yearly number of accidents caused by tire related issues.

So what was your #FirstCarMoment?  I assume it was as ugly as mine was?

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion. I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?