December 30, 2012

2012, The Year of Me

When I first got into blogging I had no intentions of becoming a writer.  A famous stay at home dad with his own TV show maybe, but a writer was definitely NOT in the cards.

Then came 2012.

Up until this past year I was just a silly dad with a sometimes silly blog.  I shared stories that people could relate to.  Sometimes they had a message, sometimes they said nothing.  But then something happened in the past year that changed all that.  Specifically a post titled "My Boys Will be Boob Men."  That post was by far my most read post in the past year and it was the one that put me in the Huffington Post.

What will become of this guy?
I've written a few more entries for them, but find that it's tough to get things past their editors all of the time.  Some posts are just sitting in limbo and I am not sure if they will ever get published.  Oh well.  Then along came an opportunity to write for a newish website called Parent Society.  To say I was honored was an understatement.  Me, now offering advice and ideas to a whole new audience?  It's crazy to even think about.  They do know I sit around and play with Legos all day right?

But the opportunity that I am most thrilled about is the new venture I am in called Dads Round Table.  We started it up in October and since then it has been growing quite nicely.  To be included in this group of dads is awesome.  I have some new ideas up my sleeve for the site, which I am looking forward to, but I have been slow to actually put things together.

But now I am stuck.

I have been in a rut for two months now, with nothing to write about.  All these new exciting opportunities, and here I am with nothing floating around in my brain.  Every time I sit down to write something, I realize that I already wrote the exact same thing last year or the year before.  Life is a lot like my old profession in TV News. It changes from day to day, but it's the same from year to year.

So now I am a writer with nothing to write about.

I'm having a hard time focusing on which project should come first.  Huffington Post brings me the most eyeballs, Parent Society pays me (although not very much), Dads Round Table has a great potential, and then there is my own blog. What will become of this little space on the internet?  I don't want to completely shut this down, but this is not something that is ever going grow into what the others are or possibly could be.

So I am now at a crossroads in my blogging life.  2012 opened a lot of doors for me; it's just a matter of which ones I walk through in 2013.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 18, 2012

Lego Gun Control

Say what you will about the tragedy that happened last Friday, but the bottom line is that it was a GUN that killed those poor little kids.  Sure someone could inflict harm with any weapon that they choose, but you just don't hear about mass killings with baseball bats and knives.  Spare me the idea that we should outlaw cars and kinds of other nonsense that people have been coming up with since the day of the shooting.

I don't want to take away someones right to own a gun, but there at least needs to be a conversation about gun control in this country.

It seems I can't go anywhere around here without seeing some mention of a gun in society.  Whether it's in movies or video games they are all too present in front of our kids.  Just yesterday I was checking out some video games for a new Xbox that the kids got for Hanukkah.  I was hard pressed to find a game that didn't have some sort of violence in it.  Video games are not alone, in fact it troubles me that my FAVORITE toy could very well be the largest producer of firearms in the world.

I know that it is up to us parents to control what our kids see and do, and it's not one thing that is a factor in how our kids behave.  It's not the music, it's not the video games, it's not the movies, but it is a combination of everything.  The truth is I have always realized that Lego had a lot of guns in their sets and it did trouble me, but not enough to really do anything about it.  I mean I must have over 300 guns in my house ranging from shotguns, to assault rifles, to pistols, to laser guns, and canons.  It's a lot of weapons.  Fortunately they won't actually kill anyone like the real ones do. 

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 13, 2012

5 Things I Don't Want for Christmas

I am really an easy person to shop for.

Ridiculous I know
I am a guy after all who likes sports and power tools.  I don't build many things, but I have developed a nice collection of power drills and belt sanders.  One day I swear I am going to build the most awesome bookcase to house all of my sports stuff.  I have no place to put it all because I have a wife, a wife that would rather hang up a Sex in the City picture that her brother got her, than see my latest in my Sports Illustrated collection.  One day though, one day!

You want to get me a present?  Get me a gift card to the Syracuse University Bookstore or Lowes.  Let me shop for myself.  With that in mind here are five things to NEVER get me.

1. A visor.  My brother in law got me a Baltimore Orioles visor one year because he heard in passing that I might have been a fan 20 years ago.  A hat would have been nice, but a visor?  I don't know of anyone that has ever worn one and personally I don't get the point.  What is so wrong about covering the entire head? I like hats.  I have about 50 of them (I wear three).

2. Pants.  I hate having to hold up something that is so ugly and have to fake that whole "Pants... they are just what I always wanted" routine.  I love ripping open a box, but when something sucks, faking that I like something so nobody gets their feelings hurt blows.

3.  Anything from a drugstore.  This should be a given.  You obviously put no thought into the gift and were just picking up your allergy medicine when that New York Yankees trinket just screamed that you had to buy it.  I don't want to have to return something to a store where there is nothing that I want to buy myself.  What am I going to do, get my film processed while I am there.

4. Anything that sits on a desk.  I don't have a desk, so this should be pretty self explanatory.  If I did have a desk, I wouldn't want any crap on it.  I have enough clutter in my house and don't want to have clean around anything else that is out in the open.  One thing grows into two, two turns into four, and the next thing you know I have a collection of dolphins in my den. (I don't even have a den)

5. A recipe book. Hell don't buy me a book period.  I have no time to read them, and besides there are these things nowadays called iPads that I can load books onto.  There are also apps that I can access and websites that I can browse that can give me all the latest in culinary exploration.  My cooking consists of macaroni and cheese and chicken.  Find me a book with just those two dishes and I will consider opening your gift.

Bonus.  Don't buy me anything.  Chances are it is going to be the wrong color, size, or team. Don't even try to guess because you are going to be wrong and I am going to have to go to the store anyway to return it. Why don't we just cut out that middle process and go with the cash.

Double Bonus. A bookcase. I told you that I am going to build it myself. Soon.

Of course with all this being said you could just buy me beer this Christmas.  That is something that I would never turn down. Or you could just get something for these guys.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 12, 2012

Wednesday's Window

I am going to let you in on a little secret... I kind of have a fascination with Legos.  I know that was a pretty shocking revelation but I just had to get that off my chest. Fortunately for me, my boys do too.  So where is the one place that you have to go? Legoland of course.  We have been fortunate to have gone to the one out in California a few times and we absolutely love it.  But we don't have much reason to get out to San Diego much anymore, so lucky for us they built one in Florida.  Since we go to Disney more than most people go to the bathroom it's great to have one so close to Orlando.  It is about a 45 minute drive from Disney and it is well worth the trip.  There aren't a ton of rides and it's not really geared toward the older crowd, but if your kids are like mine, they will love it... especially Miniland.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

We are heading in!
The Capitol
The Mall on Washington
Iwo Jima
One of the eight million mini golf courses in Florida
Florida State Capital
New York Hotel in Las Vegas
Capital Hill, Washington
The White House with the Obamas standing by.
Washington, DC
Tampa, Fl
San Francisco
I believe this is St. Augustine
A smarter man than I built this

The place is amazing.  I tried to sneak out the Space Shuttle, but they wouldn't let me.  

You can see more pictures like this is you follow along on Instagram

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 10, 2012

We've Got Time

Carter has been asking a lot lately how old people are.

He's getting really good at knowing everyone's age. Grandpa is 76, grandma is 68, and I am 38. What he has started to do is age everyone, for example:

Carter: "How old will grandpa be when I'm 43?"
Me: "Well if he's still alive, he'll be 114."
Carter: "What about grandma?"
Me: "She would be 106."
Carter: "And how old will you be?"
Me: "I'll be 76."

I don't think that he even understands what it means to be 114 years old. Everyone as old as I am is old, although clearly at 38, I am not an old man. At least I don't feel old yet.

This whole line of conversation has gotten me thinking though that before you know it, I will be that 76 year old man with a 43 year old son. I only know the first 38 years, and if the next 38 are anything like the last few since I had kids, 76 is right around the corner.

It's hard not to think that. I always struggle with this whole aging.

He's also gotten into asking about what grade everyone is in in school. Right now he is in Kindergarten, while his brother is in third grade. He also has a few older cousins that are in the same school district as him and always wants to know what grade they will be in:

Carter: "When I'm in third grade, Tyler will be in sixth. What about (older cousin) Brian?"
Me: "Well, he'll be a junior in high school."
Carter: "And when I'm in sixth Tyler will be in ninth?"
Me: "That's right. When Tyler is a senior in high school you'll be a freshman and when he is a senior in college, you'll be a freshman in college. Oh no then I'll be an old man."
Carter: "Whoa daddy... Slow down, we've got time before that happens."

I guess he's right. I do have time. No sense aging myself just yet.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 5, 2012

Wednesday's Window

Last week we took you on the latest Disney Cruise ship The Fantasy.  If you didn't see it, you should take a look because the ship is beautiful.  Disney in no way paid me to say that, but in the future it would be nice if they did.  The ship made stops in St. Thomas, San Juan, and Disney's private island Castaway Cay.  Well, I was equipped with my panorama feature on my iPhone which I probably overused, but it's such an awesome feature and you can take really cool shots that you can't capture with a normal phone.  To get the full 180 degrees in an image is something that I have been wanting to do for some time, and now that I am able to, it's all I do.  We take you to the Caribbean in this week's Wednesday's Window.  I hope you enjoy.

Trunk Bay St. John's, USVI
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sunset in St. Thomas, USVI
Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay beach
Looking back at the ship
Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay
Sun setting at Castaway Cay

Next week I will take you to Legoland Florida.  There will be no panoramic photos, but there will be plenty of legos.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 3, 2012

Fly Away Elf

I don't know why I let this little guy in my house.

He has done nothing but torture me since the day he entered the picture.  Half the time he doesn't move, and when he does the kids don't notice that he did.  But God forbid he decides to not fly and go report to Santa one night, and I have to be inundated with questions as to why that was the case.

You mock me
We got along perfectly fine without him.  There was no questioning things like Santa Claus and how he knows if the kids were naughty or nice.  It was just something that they took for granted.  But now we add another layer to the deception and you can see the wheels turning in the kids heads that maybe something is up.

It's all because of this stupid little elf.

I don't know how he came to be, at least in our house anyway.  I am sure some kids were talking about it at school one day and Tyler mentioned that it was something we should do.  We probably thought it was a cute idea at the time, not realizing the torture that he was going to put us through.

The first time he appeared in our house this year, my five year old looked at him with this ridiculous look on his face.

"Daddy you put that there." Carter said to me.
"What are you talking about, that's an elf from the North Pole." I explained
"No it's not, he's plastic."

It's hard to argue really.  I mean this is something that you can buy at the store out of a box.  Why on Earth would Santa put a bunch of elves in boxes that you can buy at the Hallmark Store for $29.95?  It makes no sense to me, and I think it is starting to make no sense to the kids.

I don't know why we perpetuate this "tradition."  It seems to me that it only leaves doubt in the kids minds when they see that the elf has screwed up once again and failed to fly off to the North Pole to report to Santa.  I mean we can only tell the kids so many times that the he must have been drunk or fell asleep or that the kids must have been so nice that day that he didn't need to go anywhere.

Whatever happened to there just being a Santa Claus?

This money making gimmick has to go.  THAT is all it is folks... someone is making a fortune at our expense.

Clearly the people in this video are pulling a fast one on all of us.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 30, 2012

Animal in the Attic

Somewhere in the far reaches of my attic is an animal.  I have yet to see it, but I can hear it from the inside of my house.  It's scratching on the ceiling above us as if to say, "You can't find me."  I've gone in the attic without any luck and there are no noticeable signs that anything is living up there.  That's a good thing, but it's up there somewhere... and it's driving me crazy.  I vow to find this thing and remove it at any cost.

I really hope that my wife doesn't mind.  I mean we have to get this animal out somehow.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


November 28, 2012

Wednesday's Window

If you didn't already know, my family is a huge Disney family.  We have been lucky enough to go to Disney World too many times to count (my kids are spoiled I know) and our love doesn't stop on the land.  Disney Cruise line in one of the BEST in the cruise industry and we were fortunate enough to sail on their most recent addition to their fleet, The Fantasy.  I was also fortunate to have my hands on the iPhone 5 (man I am coming across as a snob huh?) which has that cool panorama feature built in to it's camera.  So I figured why not give you a cool glimpse into what the ship looks like.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

The ship made it's first ever voyage to San Juan, Puerto Rico
View from the classic Promenade Deck
Looking out Deck 12 towards the Great Blue Yonder
Adults only section Deck 12 Forward
Deck 12 Forward 
Adult only area. Cove pool down below
Mickey Pool.  Fun for the kids
Midship Donald Duck and Mickey Pools
The Aqualab spray area
Goof's Sports Deck mini golf
Very classic Central Atrium
Movie theatre where we saw Wreck it Ralph
Walt Disney Theater
Enchanted Garden Dining room
Royal Palace Dining room
D-Lounge family fun
Our room. Small but easily fit a family of four
Main pools at night
Cove pool at night
More Mickey and Donald Pools

It was a beautiful ship.  Next week I will share some of the amazing places that the ship took us.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?