November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Window... Lost Schoolwork

Last week at my parents house my father went in to the attic to get down some Christmas decorations.  What he came down with was some old school work that I had done when I was in Nursery school.  I had just turned four, younger than Carter is now. It's interesting to see what goes on in the mind of a four year old kid, especially myself, who has no recollection of this at all.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window, as we take a peek into my life 34 years ago.

I guess we all had really long legs and my mom had a big head
They still live in that yellow house
Shockingly this is what Carter likes too
I had no idea my parents were so violent towards me.  Someone call Child Protection!
My grandparents had this room in the basement I was terrified of
I don't know if this meant I had a thing for the baby sitter or not.
Some things never change, I still want to go on roller coasters

I am glad that I have kept a lot of the boys school work.  It's so fun to look back on what they have written and see what matters to them.  It's amazing to see their progress through the years.  The only thing I don't keep is anything that has glitter on it.  I HATE GLITTER.  How much of your kids stuff have you kept?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 29, 2011

The Perfect Soup

*Disclaimer* This post was entirely shot, written and edited all while shopping with my four year old son

Unlike most I actually enjoy grocery shopping with my four year old. He is always so eager to help and seems to be fascinated with helping me in the kitchen. Sure I am usually surprised at checkout with a few extra items and I do have to pick up fruit that he has thrown on the floor and there is the occasional display that he has knocked down, but ultimately it's much more fun than shopping by myself. Today we tried to stock our pantry and refrigerator with items for Carter's perfect soup. Here is what he came up with:

So it's not going to be the greatest tasting soup in the world, but there was some good effort involved. His chef skills clearly need a little bit of work, but hey he's only four years old and the important part is he didn't run anyone over and nobody got hurt. So for that Carter deserves a bonus.

Good work my son, maybe next time we'll actually get some food.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 23, 2011

A Lego Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It has been difficult in recent years trying to figure out where to spend the day.  There are a lot more people involved than there used to be.  More people means more mouths to feed, especially when people show up that you weren't expecting.  Who are we to turn them away, this is after all a time of giving.  Sometimes we make due with what we have, other times we have to look elsewhere to make sure that nobody goes unfed.*

*No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie

From all of us here at Daddy's in Charge? we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and the very best this holiday season.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 21, 2011

Scarecrow and Mrs. Rotting Pumpkin

I can tell Christmas coming.  The catalogues all change, the lights are slowly going up around the neighborhood, and I have a couple of pumpkins that are rotting on my front doorstep.

She has seen better days
My wife has a huge issue with the way I decorate the house.  Well I should say not the way I decorate, but how long it actually takes me to take things down or throw things out.  She has threatened me in the past with divorce over such things, and says that we are the laughing stock of the entire neighborhood.  With my son Tyler now in the second grade, she fears he will be picked on because I try to spread holiday cheer as long as possible.  I say if I can make at least one person smile as they drive past our house, who cares what everyone else thinks.

When did we get to the point where we concerned ourselves over what Tom and Judy from down the street think of us?

Is this really so bad?
One year I had our outside Christmas lights up until sometime around Mothers Day.  Maybe that was a little much but I liked them.  I liked being different than everybody else.  Where I live the lights go up right around Christmas and EVERYONE takes them down the week after New Years.  One month of holiday lights just doesn't seem enough to me.  Why not leave them up a little longer, is there really harm in that?  You see, my lights I like to consider winter season lights.  They look like a giant pair of candy canes on the front pillars of my house.  Last I knew we didn't stop eating candy canes right after Christmas, heck I have had them in July before.

So after Christmas is done I like to think that they are Valentines Day lights.  Why not, they are red and white, I have seen people put heart shaped lights in front of their houses, whats wrong with two giant candy canes?  I have even thought about adding a green light to the mix, that way we can just leave them up until St. Patrick's Day!  Maybe even add a blue blue on in and have them up for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, how cool would that be?  We would definitely be the talk of the neighborhood.

But my wife thinks for the wrong reasons.

As if there are actually people sitting in their homes holding parties and laughing at the Willeys down the block.  I say screw you Stooges, they are my lights and I am keeping them up all year this year!  At least until the divorce papers are filed.

That reminds me I should probably go get that scarecrow and those rotting pumpkins though they are looking a little funky.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 18, 2011

Dotting Their T's and Crossing Their Eyes

I brought this up a few weeks ago about how different my boys are.  One can do certain things that the other can't and vice versa.  They really are two unique kids with abilities they have picked up from both my wife AND I.  Not a day passes that we don't find out something new about our kids and some amazing ability that they are able to master.

While certain things like reading, writing, and drawing haven't come as easy to Carter as they did Tyler, it's the simple life skills that he has seemed to master so well.  Take for example crossing his eyes:

So yes Carter can be a little strange at times, even downright scary at others, but it's these abilities that make him stand out.  Tyler on the other hand will never have to worry about his eyes staying crossed forever, as it just seems this is something that he is never going to accomplish:

I'll give him an "A" for effort, but hopefully this is not something that will hold him back in life.  I would hate to see the day when he is asked to look at something on the end of his nose.  He might just make himself dizzy and fall down trying.

Kids.  They are so quirky.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 17, 2011

The Winner... Starring Legos

We picked a name out of a hat
I would like to first thank everyone who registered for this giveaway.  It has been a lot of fun for me reading all of your comments, wall posts, and tweets.  I had no idea that there were so many crazed Lego fanatics like myself out there.  If you could mention this to my wife, she will see that I am pretty normal after all.  There was a similar theme in all of your comments, Legos are a great way for the whole family to play together.  I know that I enjoy playing with them with my kids and it's nice to see that I am not the only one.  Without further ado, I bring you THE WINNER.

A heartfelt congratulations to our winner.  I sincerely wish I had 134 of these to give out, but unfortunately there could be only one winner.  Thank you all for entering and I look forward to the next time I do something like this.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Window... Carter's Head

This week's window is a peek into my youngest son Carter's mind.  He has become somewhat of a genius when it comes to creating Lego minifigures.  He watches Youtube videos all the time on how to create your own custom lego minifigures - mainly of superheroes, another new passion.  Sometimes he gets frustrated by the fact that the guy he wants to make cannot be found online.  So we told him he could make his own video and be the first.  Just to let you know there is a little boy in England that Carter has watched way too many of his videos, leaving him with somewhat of a British accent.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

My little English boy.  I had no idea he had that in him.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 10, 2011

The Repo Man... Starring Lego Scott

I wanted to introduce you to my friend Scott.  I have decided to take the week off and take the family on a trip to Legoland.  I know what you guys are thinking, didn't I just go to Legoland not too long ago.  Well, yes I did.  But, they opened another one in Florida!  How cool is that?  Anyway, since I am out of town Scott agreed to fill in for me, what a guy!  To give you a little background here I met Scott on Twitter, he thought I was some sort of genius, and since I was not one to argue we became fast friends, well as fast of friends as you can be online.  He loves legos just as much as any guy, so without further ado, I bring you Lego Scott.

The Movie

For more of Scott you can check out his blog, This Daddys Blog, or follow him on Twitter (@ThisDaddys_Blog).  When you talk to him tell him to stop stalking my house, all my car payments are paid in full.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Window... Zurg

So we are traveling again.  And again we are headed to Disney World.  We love Disney, so much so in fact we try to get there twice a year.  I know that for some people going to Disney is a once in a childhood sort of trip.  It can be overwhelming to plan and budget, but the bottom line is that the trip is one that will fill up your memory banks forever.  We have been taking our boys to Disney ever since they were tiny.  Tyler made his first trip when he was four months old and Carter was only three months when he first went. They won't remember any part of the trip, BUT WE WILL.  It's funny, I try to get a picture of the kids with the castle behind them every time that we go just to record how big they have gotten over the years.  Of course that hasn't been easy, who wants to pose with a castle?  There is another spot that we have taken pictures over the years, and it's with Zurg, right at the exit of the Buzz Blaster ride.  I don't know why we started doing this, but it's fun to look back on over the years.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

Tyler a little over two years old
Tyler a little over three years old
Carter is one, Tyler is four
Tyler is five and Carter is two
Six months later Carter is three and a half and Tyler is five

Of course we missed a few trips but I am sure we'll get another this time around.  Is there any place that you seem to get pictures of the kids all the time?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 8, 2011

Taking Back My Basement (The Hard Part)

I knew it was going to be difficult to take back my so called man cave, it's never been mine to begin with.  Pretty much from the moment we decided to finish off the space there has been kids toys everywhere.  I have tried without much success making an adult only area, but who am I kidding, it's become basically a kids cave over the past few years.

Part of the problem is me.

Somethings get put 
It's been my responsibilty to clean out some of the old toys, mainly the baby ones that they no longer play with.  Normally you would think that this would be an easy thing to do, but I've gotten really attached to these toys and amazingly, I CAN"T LET THEM GO.  There are memories in these toys that I just can't seem to shake.  I can vividly picture times where me and the boys would be playing with certain things, and it gets me sad.

If there is an underlying theme to this blog it's that I am having a hard time seeing my kids grow up.  You probably would have thought it's about mine and my boys obsession with legos, that is partly the case, but not a week goes by that I don't look at them and see what big kids they have become.

A trip into my basement is a trip back in time.

I look to my right and there is one of those Fisher Price talking seats.  I can imagine little Carter sitting in it and flipping through the little attached book and hearing it say "The kitty says meow."  Or there is a little Elmo table that Tyler used to pull himself up to when he first started to stand up.  I can still hear Cookie Monster saying, "C is for cookies, that's good enough for me.  Yum yum yum."  You see where I am going with this, everywhere that I turn I am reminded that EVERYONE is getting a little bit older.  I know that they won't play with these toys anymore and my wife and I are probably NOT going to have any more kids, so here they sit, batteries dying hoping that one day maybe they get played with once again.

Only I know that they won't.

There are boxes of toys that the kids used to play with.  It seems now that the only thing that they are interested in are video games.  The TV that I bought with hopes of watching endless sporting events has turned into the boys own little arcade.  I don't mind that so much, at least they enjoy it.  I just need them to realize how much they enjoyed playing with all of their old toys.

The best thing for us to do is get rid of these things, donate them to people that will use them.  They are not doing any good on the floor of my basement, only making it harder and harder for me to let go of them.  One day all of these toys will be gone but my basement will still be full.

Full of memories.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 6, 2011

Zero to 50,049

Now admittedly I was hoping to capture a shot of the number 50,000, but it happened sometime in the early hours of Tuesday morning. What does this number mean? I will tell you, that's how many times a page has been viewed on this very site. Over 50,000 times someone has made the effort to click to a page on my site, and for that I am extremely grateful.

When I started out in January I had no idea if anyone would ever look at anything I had to say. I had two fans, my sister in law and my niece. Heck my wife wasn't even reading and the page views were trickling in... Slowly.

Sometime in February I posted a review of the latest Disney Cruise Line ship, The Dream. All of a sudden my page views were going from 20 a day to close to 500. I had finally been discovered.  But not quite the way that I wanted.

We thank you!
But as time went on less and less Disney people were visiting my site, and more and more were coming to find out the latest shenanigans with my kids, and my silly lego movies.  I was finally developing an audience and I was no longer in the cruise travel business. Don't get me wrong I still get visits on those reviews that I did on a daily basis, but I never went into blogging with the idea that I was going to become an expert on cruises. At one point I was higher ranked on Google than Disney themselves. Crazy to think huh?

But I am just a dad with two kids and not Rick Steves or Arthur Frommer, my kids are my muse, not travel. Although I have thought of branching out a little bit.  There might just be a blog coming out based on traveling with kids, something we have EXTENSIVE experience with.

It's amazing how much this little blog has grown in the past ten months.  It's been more than just words on a computer screen.  We have grown together... Me, my kids, and you the audience.  The three of us is what this is all about.  Without any one us, Daddy's in Charge? does not exist.  

You don't know what it means to me that you would take the time out of your day to stop by and see what a little old dad from New Jersey has to say.  It means a lot to me. 

Zero to 50,049... and beyond!

Please take a moment to let me know where you are coming from.  You guys know me all too well and I would love to get to know you guys just a little bit better.  Maybe I can buy you a beer?  We can all sit down and I can thank you personally, each and every single one of you.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 3, 2011

Lego Giveaway! (Closed)

OK, we obviously know how much my kids love legos.  Who am I kidding, I am the one with the obsession, I just make it seem like they are the ones in charge, at least with the Legos anyways.  So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you, my readers, the chance to win something that I think is totally cool, a Lego City Advent Calendar.

For those of you not familiar with this awesome set let me give you an idea what's involved here.  The goal is to make the countdown to Christmas fly by a bit quicker for your little lego enthusiast.  There are 24 separate little gifts each to be given out in the days prior to the arrival of Santa Claus.  It really is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season, Lego style. 

Here is a sample of what you will find inside:
  • 24 different Lego City gifts
  • 6 minifigures: 2 policemen, 2 robbers, fisherman and Santa Claus
  • Vehicles include two snowmobiles
  • Build larger models with bricks from three different days
  • Also features a police dog and a Christmas tree
I really can't imagine the excitement a child would get as he or she opened up these gifts everyday, and then on Christmas Day Santa brings them The Lego Death Star.  I know my kids would be bouncing off the walls.

So here is how the contest is going to work.  There are a few ways to enter:
  1. Leave me a comment below (one comment per person) about how much you LOVE legos
  2. Follow me on twitter AND send me a tweet (@daddysincharge) telling about how Legos are the BOMB
  3. If you already follow, just send me a tweet professing your love for me and telling me you want to enter
  4. Become a fan on Facebook ( But you need to let me know you are there because of the contest
  5. If you already are a fan just write on my wall and say hey.
So there you go, five different ways of entering.  I guess technically you can have up to three contest entries per person.  So have at it.

While you are at it tweet me a picture or post a picture to my wall of what you look like as a lego.  Who knows maybe some of you could appear in an upcoming Lego movie.

The contest runs through Monday November, 14th at 11:59 PM and the winner will be announced (hopefully) that following Thursday, assuming I can count up the millions of entries that I am sure to get.  Once that is done the winner will be contacted and God willing the prize will be shipped so you can have it by December 1st.  

One thing though, entries must be limited to the continental United States.  I know boo. But what am I going to do, I can't guarantee something will make it to another country in time for the first and shipping overseas can get a little pricey.  I am made of Legos not gold you know.

Lego was in no way involved in this giveaway.  This was strictly done out of the kindness of my heart, to share with you, my readers a little something to make your holidays a brighter one.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 2, 2011

Wednesday's Window... Halloween

This week we share with you our Halloween experience.  My boys really anticipated Halloween for the obvious reasons, the candy.  They were really excited when they picked out their costumes, Tyler went as Spiderman while Carter dressed up as... well he didn't really dress up.  You see the night before, Carter got a stomach bug which made him a little more cranky than usual.  I know, that's hard to do sometimes.  Anyway when it came time to go trick or treating, he decided he didn't want to dress up and he would rather stay in the car.  Where is the fun in that?  Like any good father would do, I decided to step in for my ill stricken child and got him the bag of candy he wanted.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

Tyler is Spiderman
My Nephew Dylan is the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man
Carter missed Tyler's school parade
When he woke he was NOT happy
Tyler went trick or treating with Dylan and his friend Brandon
Carter rode in the car
I filled in for Carter and filled up his candy bag.

I guess it doesn't always turn out like we want it to.  Oh well, there's always next year

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 1, 2011

Taking Back My Basement

I guess the title is a little bit misleading.

There's a TV!
The idea that I have a basement all to myself is the stuff of dreams. When we decided to finish off our basement I, like a lot of men, had visions of a "Man Cave" where I could escape to watch endless hours of NFL football and College basketball. Well the TV is there, but the next time a basketball game is watched on it will be the first time.

I'm lucky. I do have a basement, and I know that a lot of people would kill for something like this, just for the simple fact they could they could get their kids toys out of the rest of there house. Well between generous family and friends and jolly old Saint Nick my basement has turned into a Toys 'R Us after a bomb went off.

There are shelves
I know this is such a first world problem and that I shouldn't complain, we should all be so fortunate right?  But, there will be a point where all of this stuff gets donated, a story for another blog, and these toys will enrich the lives of someone else. But right now, its my basement and my problem.

Sometimes I am scared to even go down there. You know how things get when they are so messy you don't know where to begin cleaning, so it stays and you learn to live with it. That's how I have become with my basement.

It's been hard to keep up.

I built some shelves through the years with the idea that the kids would just play with something, and put it on the shelf when they were done. Little did I know that kids don't like to clean up after themselves. Sure there are those perfect parents whose kids listen and clean up, but the next time I see one, outside of a TV commercial, will be the first.

There's a mess
I feel like I spend half of everyday cleaning the same damn thing, so if one other thing is out of place, I don't get to it. Slowly the piles of toys build up, and what I am left with is a child's dream playroom, but a parents worst nightmare.

This will certainly take more than one blog post to accomplish, and with college basketball season starting in a couple of weeks, I have to get this done. This caveman needs his space.  I want my basement back, at least my little part anyway.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?