September 30, 2011

The Happy Place

Everyone has their happy place. For my wife and I it's the Finger Lakes Region of New York. We met up here and fell in love. It's the place that we come back to every year to remind of us of a simpler time. It's a beautiful place, a place I wish we could get to all the time.

We love it here. What's your happy place?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 29, 2011

My Day in Legos... The First One

I am heading out of town for a much needed break. So I thought that I would share with you the first Lego movie that I did.  I know that some of you may have seen it but I have since joined one of those Triberr Tribes, so this is for all of the new people that haven't dug into my blog like you should be doing, there is a lot of great content there folks just waiting to be devoured.  Anyway, so while I am up visiting my folks and having a much needed alone day day with my wife, I hope you enjoy this blast from the past. 

The Movie

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 28, 2011

Wednesday's Window... My Birthday

This week's window is obviously one that is close to me, it celebrates the life of yours truly.  I dug up some old photos of myself, which is not an easy thing to do, seeing how my mother seemed to lose her camera from the time my older brother turned 4 until my younger brother was born.  Something was missing, hmmm?  It's funny looking back at these old photos, I don't remember much, except for what's in these photos.  One thing I do see is the smile that I see on MY boys faces, the innocence of a simpler time.  Oh to be young again.

I was just thinking to myself recently how I can see Tyler being seven years old, but Carter is turning four and a half tomorrow.  That just boggles my mind.  They really do grow up fast.  I am sure my mom looks at these pictures like it was just yesterday that they were taken.  If there is one thing I learned in the past year, it's that life is not slowing down.  It is so important sometimes to just stop and take it all in.  Happy Birthday little man, I think you are making your parents pretty darn proud.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 27, 2011

Chasing Numbers

I have become completely obsessed with all things blog related.  When I started I had these dreams like everyone else did of writing the next Great American blog. Now I have been pretty successful in the past nine months bringing in over 42,000 page views, 125 Facebook Likes, and over 660 Twitter followers, but therein lies the problem.  Why do I care about those numbers?

They are just numbers.

There are three things that I should care about more than anything; my wife and two kids.  Somewhere though I began to obsess about this nonsense, spending much of my day on Facebook and more recently Twitter.  I love the instantaneousness of Twitter, so much so that I would sit on my stupid phone and watch my stream more than I would my kids.  I always thought it was crazy when people tweeted that that were playing with their kids and how much fun they were having.  Why wouldn't you just enjoy the moment and not spoil it by sending off a tweet?  Well here I was doing the same damn thing.

I could shoot myself for it.

I have the two coolest little kids on the planet, sorry everyone else, and I was half paying attention to them because my mind was on my Twitter stream.  What an idiot! That looks great to the kids huh?

You should still follow me
Now don't get me wrong I have some awesome relationships that I have built online.  I have no doubt that if I actually met these people in person we would be really good friends.  The problem though is that for the most part, aside from one other blogger, I have never met anyone. They still exist solely in cyberspace.  It's the real people, the people in the flesh right in front of me, that I should be paying the most attention to. 

Only I am not.

I am making a vow to myself to focus more on what matters to me, and that's my family, somewhere along the way I lost sight of that.  By no means am I going to stop doing my blog, where would everyone get their Lego fix, but I am not going to go nuts wondering how to get more page views or unique visitors.  I am going to put down my phone when the kids are around, maybe take a day off here or there from Twitter or even have a Facebook free weekend.  Maybe instead of sending one of my friends a message, I'll actually go visit them.  Real life face to face.

Chasing numbers?

The only thing I will be chasing from now on is my kids.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 23, 2011

My Arms Have Pits

Sadly that is my problem.

If it wasn't for those stupid hairy beasts resting under my arms I would have no problems in life.  Sure my kids act up every now and then, what kids don't.  My house isn't always clean, I don't live in a museum, so why should it always be spotless.  My check engine light is always on in my car, but I think that's just a way of getting us to spend money at the dealership.  No my big problem is my armpits.

I am not going to lie to you, there are times when they smell, my wife will argue that it's all the time, but it's not.  At least I don't smell them anyway.  I use that combination antiperspirant and deodorant stuff that is all the rage in the western world, and I think that is where my problems lie.  Some sort of crazy chemical reaction is slowly destroying everything that I own.

Every shirt that I have ever worn is ruined.

Stupid armpit stains have rendered most of my shirts unwearable.  Now they are most prominent in my white shirts so I don't wear them any more, but slowly I can see them destroying EVERY shirt that I own.  I have tried to buy more black, blue and red shirts to camouflage this problem, but I can see a problem there as well.  I think the only option I have is to buy a shirt either the color of an arm pit stain or somehow try to make arm pit stains fashionable.
Sometimes I sweat

Sadly I don't think that either is an option.

I have tried everything in the book, different kinds of deodorants, different detergents, sprays, magic, you name it, I've done it.  My wife says I should completely shave my pits, as she thinks the hair is the issue.  I think the issue there is that I don't want my arm pits to itch any more than they do.  If I rub them they just might ruin my shirts even more or more quickly.

Please don't take pity on me, I am not the only one with this problem.

Even Miss Kentucky has the problem
After some research on this issue, it's amazing what you can find these days, I have come to the conclusion that I am not alone in this.  There are men, and women, everywhere that have a full wardrobe of shirts with yellowing underarms.  Don't think you haven't looked down at your own clothes as you read this, I know you have.  You have tried yourselves to figure out a way to stop this craziness and are completely stumped.

So am I.

So I need your help to try and solve this problem.  What do you do to either prevent it, or get rid of them?  I will try anything at this point just to have one shirt that remains arm pit stain free.  The only thing I won't do is start wearing tank tops.  I wouldn't want to subject you to that, that's just gross.  

You really don't want to see this

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 22, 2011

Baby's First Words... Starring Lego Chuck Norris

John P. is a pretty hip dad
I have a friend name John Pseudonymous who writes a fantastic blog called Twinfamy.  He's a fellow stay at home dad who lives in Arizona.  He recently shared a story about how his son said his first words.  Now as a parent  you listen to your child's every utterance in hopes that at least something makes sense.  Every dad roots for the kid to say "Dada" while the moms all hope they say "mama."  Even when you think they said something you are still a little bit puzzled as to what they actually said.  You are left scratching your head wondering if you heard your child correctly.  Did he just say dada? Anyway John tells a funny story about a shirt that he was wearing at the time his son said dada.  Turns out out it was a Chuck Norris shirt which left him wondering if his son was reacting to the shirt or to him.  It's funny, I have a similar story about when my oldest said his first words.

Maybe I can't remember all of the details exactly, but I know that it happened something like this.  Do you remember when your kids said their first words?  What was it?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 21, 2011

Wednesday's Window

This week's window is a little more special to me than the others in the past.  I have put some amazing, at least I think so anyway, photos on here since I started doing this. This week I am putting a video here, one that I love.  More often than not I record my kids and they are doing something crazy, like trying to kill each other with lightsabres. This week the boys are calm and Tyler is reading, not only to himself but to his brother. There is something sweet about this moment that I will always remember, its really the first time that Tyler has done something like this, and I couldn't be more proud.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

I am sure there will be more moments like this as Tyler gets more comfortable with his reading skills.  It's only a matter of if we can get Carter to sit for long enough to allow him to do so.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 20, 2011

Taking Back My House

I hate cleaning!  It's a never ending task and something that I think will ultimately lead to my demise.

We all have those stupid spots in our home that just collect things.  I seriously don't know how piles of junk just get bigger and bigger, when it seems that I clean these spots more than any place in my house.  It's a daily battle sometimes just to keep the kitchen clean.  I mean there is always one counter that collects everything: schoolwork, keys, wallets, food, toys, you name it, it's there.  I have almost given in to the fact that my kitchen is always going to be a mess.  What's the quote about a messy kitchen?  That it means a happy kitchen?  Well then my kitchen must be doing cartwheels in a unicorn filled meadow with rainbows all around.  It's a disaster.

There are two other places that I have focused my attention on as they just drive me nuts on a daily basis; my family room table and the boys little activity table.  The family room is important as it's really the focal point of our house and if this place is a mess, then it just seems that the rest of the house is a mess.  Sometimes I just walk in there and I want to scream.  How many days in a row can you clean the exact same thing before you officially go nuts?  

I think I am approaching that.

You obviously know that we have a lot of legos and this is the first place that gets overwhelmed.  Not a day goes by that I don't take some lego minifigure, not mine have you, out of there and put it somewhere else.  It gets me infuriated sometimes that the boys would just leave their stuff there over and over and over.  I guess it's up to me to teach them a lesson instead of just cleaning up after them all the time, something that I know I have to do or the rest of my house is going to look like a bomb went off at a Lego Store.  In the meantime I clean, and clean, and clean. It stays this way for about three hours and I start over again the next day.  

It drives me nuts.

Their little activity table has not been that for a couple of years.  It started off as a place that they could color and play with play doh or do any activities they wanted, but it slowly turned into a place that just collects school papers that we don't throw out, and junk mail.  It's gotten a completely out of control and I can't tell you how many times I've actually cleaned this stupid little table.  I have been meaning to put a desk in this spot as they have outgrown this space, it's time for a space of my own, instead of a little pseudocloset in the basement.  I really need to see the light of day sometimes and the lighting is better for me to take pictures for my lego movies.  See I am always thinking about Legos.  

I swear if you cut my head open I would have some sort of lego brain in there.

So now that I have been able to start the process of taking back my house, where did everything go you might ask?  Well, there is always one room that none of us ever use, junk just seems to pile up there more than any other, especially in the summer time.  THE GARAGE.

It's never going to end is it?  Winter is coming soon.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 19, 2011

Holy Jerkoff Batman

We have turned a corner somewhat in my house, no longer is the obsession Star Wars. Superheroes has reared its ugly head, and I can't say that I am totally happy with it. You see Star Wars is something that I was familiar with - I knew the characters, even though a new one is introduced every week on the Clone Wars TV show.  Superheroes are something I have no clue about, except that Aquaman is the coolest of all of them.

This will be the bane of my existence next spring
I don't know the difference between Marvel and DC and what ever made up crazy superhero there is out there.  I do know that my boys new obsession is with Batman and Spiderman, so much so in fact, they have decided to go as Spiderman and some black knockoff of Spiderman for Halloween.  I don't even know what the other guys name is, but I guarantee you my boys do, and as soon as the Lego superheros come out in January, you know where I will be headed.

On a recent trip to McDonalds - we go there maybe once a week, partly because I am a lazy cook and partly because the boys LOVE to play there - the Happy Meal came with Superhero toys.  We were surprised to see this as they were supposed to come with Ben 10 toys, whatever that is.  My boys were excited to say the least.  They now had a new toy that they could play with for five minutes - before it ended up stuck between the seats of our car surrounded by popcorn and french fries.  Carter got the Joker and Tyler got Batman, each was happy with their new toy.  I was not.  I have no idea what McDonalds or the company that made these toys was thinking, or maybe it was just my sick mind lost somewhere in the gutter.  I'll let you be the judge:

It seems to me that the arm action is slightly inappropriate for a toy that is being given out in a Happy Meal.  I don't know what Batman is trying to tell my kids here, or maybe we are playing with it the wrong way, but I don't want to know what he has in his utility belt, if you know what I mean.  I further inspected the packaging and found the instructions as to how to play with this toy and it seems after making this arm movement this is what happens:

He shoots, he scores!
OK, so now we know that if Batman does that enough, bats come flying out of his, ahem, belfry. Thank you McDonalds for this very important anatomy lesson, I think this is as good a time as any to teach my kids about the birds and the bees, or bats for that matter.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 16, 2011

Trading Places

Hey folks today we are guest posting over at a blog called Daddy Knows Less.  I want to introduce you to Justin, he is the author of the blog and an all around great dad.  He's a working father, but recently he took a couple of days off of work to spend time as a Stay at Home Dad.  He thought he had it all figured out, but he realized that maybe he wasn't cut out for that line of work.  Anyway I'm handing over my broom to Justin to tell the story.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 15, 2011

Guest Post From Daddy Knows Less

Today we are having our first ever guest post here at Daddy's in Charge?  I am honored to introduce you to Justin from Daddy Knows Less.  I was fortunate to work with him many years ago at my old job in television.  That was back before I had kids and my sanity was still intact.    For those that don't know Justin, I feel he has a tremendous ability to tell a story and his blog is one that I truly enjoy.  Without further ado, I bring you Daddy Knows Less.

I Can't Get Used to This
"My brain is like oatmeal. I yelled at Kenny today for coloring outside the lines! Megan and I are starting to watch the same TV shows, and I'm liking them! I'm losing it." -Jack Butler, Mr. Mom
I don't know why stay-at-home dads like John complain so much. Complain about their kids not eating. Complain about the not listening. Complain about all of the housework. If you ask me, stay-at-home dads have it pretty darn good.

Or so I thought after I took two days off just for myself in mid-July. My wife was at work. The Peanut (my 4 year-old daughter) was at daycare. I had the house to myself. I went for a run, I got errands done, I completed some projects around the house.

And those were just the mornings. In the afternoon, I made Starbucks my hangout and I got a lot of writing done. "This is the life," I thought to myself.

My wife thought the same thing, even though she was working. As I dropped her off at the train station for a second straight morning, she said, "I can get used to this."

I bet she can. Me too. But in reality, we both need to work. We both want to work. And even if I were a stay-at-home dad, the Peanut wouldn't be in full-time daycare. Half day? Sure.

I look back on those two days fondly. I was busy. I got a lot done. And I still cooked fresh meals both days. And it was relaxing.

That was not the case two other days later in the month. When it was just me and the Peanut. We try to keep her out of daycare enough to save a month's worth of costs during summer. And if we're not on vacation, I take off from work to be with her.

Laundry with her used to be fun
On the first day, we were leaving for a quick family vacation when my wife got home from work. I remember looking at the clock at one point in the morning. It read just 8:30am. I was knee deep in laundry (needed for the trip). The Peanut hadn't eaten anything (she "wasn't hungry"). Hell the dog hadn't even peed.

Serenity now.

I quickly tweeted my angst and almost immediately, John answered. Stay-at-home dad extraordinaire. "Run errands," he suggested. Oh, I've got errands. We're going to IKEA. Big mistake. The whole IKEA experience with the Peanut deserved its own blog post. 

Two things I'm learning about being a stay-at-home dad: First, there's a lot of watching the clock. They're like football coaches running a two-minute offense at the end of the half. Budgeting their time and their time outs.

Second, you need a plan. You need activities for pretty much every minute of the day. We did this when she was a baby. How come we don't do this anymore? When did we lose control?

Peanut had a fan on the jungle gym
On my second stay-at-home day, I did have a plan. We ate breakfast and went to the playground. I followed the Peanut on each piece of equipment, and noticed a little boy who couldn't have been more than eighteen months old was all by himself on one of the slides. I said out loud, "I bet your parents are paying someone a lot of money not to watch you on the playground." Then I noticed another little boy knock over a girl whose mother was busy talking on her cell phone. The boy's mother was mortified. I said, "That may not have happened if she wasn't talking on the phone."

I realized then I would make very few friends at the playground if I were a stay-at-home dad.

We came back for lunch, and I was going to take the Peanut to see the Jets at training camp. (She is a Giants fan because her favorite color is blue. I'm doing what I can to subtly influence her opinion.) But they moved practice inside because of thunderstorms. Crap.

We played a lot of princesses
I had no backup plan. So we played princesses. We watched Cinderella. We watched the same freakin' episode of Strawberry Shortcake on Netflix three times. I was going a little insane. At 4pm I called my wife at work. "Any chance you're coming home early?" Nope.

She then told me if I didn't let her off the phone she wouldn't get her work done in time to leave.

"Well, is your assistant there? Does she want to talk to me?" (Often when I call, my wife's assistant will pick up and we will strike up a conversation. I've never met her in person.)

"No, she's not at her desk," my wife told me. "You're really struggling for some adult conversation, aren't you?"

Yes. Yes I am.

"You'd never make it as a stay-at-home dad."

No... I wouldn't. This is why I think John is himself slowly going insane. And why I enjoy reading his blog.

This is why I can't wait to go back to my high-pressure, deadline-filled, demanding job in television news. So I can relax.

Thanks so much Justin!  It's nice to know that you finally understands what it's like to be me.  At least my job anyway.  If you would like more of DKL you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook, or just go to his blog for all the good stuff,  Tomorrow I will be appearing on his site, at least my lego guy will be.  Stay tuned for that!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 14, 2011

Wednesday's Window... New England

This weeks window takes you to beautiful New England.  When we wrapped our vacation we stayed in Boston for a couple of days and drove down through Newport, RI and Mystic, CT.  From the historic buildings of Boston to the beautiful coastline of Newport, there aren't too many areas in the country that can compete with New England with regards to charm and beauty.  The Vanderbilts got it right when they picked Newport as a place for their summer homes, the magnificence of the coastline is breathtaking.  It's certainly an area I love to explore and one that I hope you enjoy as well.

Boston Harbor
The Red Coats are coming
Some times you want to go where everybody knows your name
Frog Pond, Boston Common
Sometimes I think I should leave him there
Newport Coastline
The Marble House
The boys outside of The Breakers
Me and the boys
Mystic, CT
All tied up in Mystic
I hope you enjoyed this weeks window as much as I did taking the pictures.  I love exploring old places, and amazingly so do my kids. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for a guest post from someone who thinks they have all the answers about being a Stay at Home Dad.  Daddy Knows Less did it for ONE day, and now he's an expert.  He's going to share his story RIGHT HERE.  A guest post, how novel.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 13, 2011

Taking Back My Life #2

Last week when I first wrote about taking back my life, I knew that it was going to be a difficult process. There are some habits that the boys have now that I don't like, and breaking those was going to be a difficult thing to do. It's akin to teaching an old dog some new tricks - certainly not something that is easy to do, but with time can be done. 

At least that is what I hope. 

They look to me to be their anchor
The first thing that I realized was that change had to start from within. If I didn't like the way that I was behaving, then there is nothing that the boys could do to make me change. I need to stop MY behavior. The first thing that I tried to do was not yell so much. I can see, especially with my youngest, that if he sees me yelling all the time, then he thinks that it is OK to do the same. It's not. If I approach any problems with a cooler head, I think that I will be able solve some issues much more easily. 

I am not going to lie to you and say that I stopped cold turkey. There are times this past week when things just got to be too much, and I was forced to let it out. That being said, I made an effort to not yell so much, and I will say that I can already see a difference in myself. It feels much better to not be so angry with the kids over stupid things like Legos or eating the last piece of their breakfast. 

What I have come to realize is that these are kids and they are going to emulate whatever the parents do. If they see me doing something, maybe they will do the same. If I yell, they will yell. If I go about things in a calmer manner, hopefully they will do the same. 

Taking my life back starts with me, and nobody else but me.

I will be sharing updates on the progress of my Take Back my Life Project every Tuesday. I am sure their will be setbacks along the way but in the long run, everyone will be better for it. Wish me luck!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


September 12, 2011

My Wife Rings a Bell (Kind of)

This morning on Wall Street was like most Monday mornings, except for one thing, my wife.  It's not everyday that you get invited to the floor of the stock exchange, but on this day that was the case.  Now my wife is successful - which allows me to do what I do, write a critically acclaimed blog read by millions every day.  OK that was a little bit of a stretch, but she works and I take care of the kids.  She wasn't on Wall Street representing business or kicking off the next great IPO, she was there for something else, charity.  

Jenn on Stock Exchange floor
My wife doesn't have much time to do anything but work and come home and spend a limited amount of time with her family.  It can be tough on her and us.  She would like to be doing so much more, that's just the way she is, if there were 25 hours in a day, she would probably try to be on the go for 26.  It's part of what makes her successful.  But it doesn't give her much time to do what she loves, giving back.

She was approached at work recently to donate time, money, whatever she could to an organization called Action America.  Now they are one of many charities dedicated turning the unfortunate events of 9/11, into a positive movement.  It's made up of corporations, individuals, and non-profits all committed to honoring those affected by the attacks and unifying the country through positive action.  So when she was asked at work to help out, my wife jumped at the chance.

Which brings us to this morning.

Action America was asked to ring the opening bell on Wall Street, and my wife got invited to attend.  Now unfortunately she didn't get to actually ring the bell, that honor went to Kevin Connolly from Entourage, who is kind of acting as the celebrity spokesperson.  I am thinking my wife should have done the honor, she is much better looking than the actor, but I understand they need star power for these events. 

The important thing here is that this was all done for a good cause.  I am in no way implying that you need to donate your time or money to this particular charity, just if you have the time or ability donate to any, please do.  There are a million different causes all looking for help, and the more people that get involved the better.  Let's make this a better place for the people that matter most to us, our kids.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?