October 29, 2012

Riding Out the Storm

Cabin fever will strike at some point

This is it. The storm is making its final approach toward New Jersey and all we can do now is wait. It's weird; if you didn't watch the news it would just look like another crappy fall day. But knowing that the worst is yet to come, the only thing we can do now is wait.

According to the latest models we are not in the direct line of this storm, but close enough to feel the full effects. There will be rain, there will be wind, and there will be power outages. I fully expect to be sitting in the dark at some point. We have our flashlights and candles and a freezer full of food that - lets face it, if the power doesn't go out will sit frozen for another year. Maybe Sandy will do us a favor in that regard.

As far as any damage is concerned, I'm not too worried about that; things can be rebuilt and trees can be replanted. Honestly at this point my main concern is not the Hurricane that swirls on the outside of the house, it's the two that are on the inside. If the power does go out for a few days, I know how my boys can be. It could get rough.

We'll just ride this out with hopefully little damage on the outside and our sanity intact on the inside. Bring beer!

Hopefully they won't kill each other, or me

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 24, 2012

Wednesday's Window

Every year we head off to the apple farm and pumpkin patch.  Every year we snap a photo of our kids. At this point, I can't tell if we go to buy apples and pumpkins, or we just go to take a picture of the kids.  It seems as though everything that you do when you have kids is just a big photo opportunity.  Whether it's Santa Claus, Disney World, or just the first day of school, we always seem to be ready with a camera in hand.  It is amazing sometimes looking back on just how big the kids have grown over the years, and that's why we do it.  It's hard to realize how big they are getting when you see them every day, but when you look back at pictures that have been taken over the years, it really is unbelievable.  Where did my little kids go?  I hope you enjoy this week's Wednesday's Window.

One year old Tyler
Two year old Tyler
Three Year old Tyler
Four year old Tyler, One year old Carter
Six year old Tyler, three year old Carter
Seven year old Tyler, four year old Carter
Eight year old Tyler, five year old Carter

We missed one year, and I can't figure out why. Where are your favorite photo opportunities?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 17, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch... Starring Legos

This past weekend we did what we do every year and headed out to go look for our pumpkins.  I don't know if the boys love doing this or it's just something we do as a family every year.  It's one of those opportunities to take photos of your kids so that you can compare them to the year before and see how much they have grown.  They do love carving pumpkins and they are already sitting on our front steps. There was one thing this year that was different, they wanted to go look for gourds.  You know those crazy things with all the different colors, some look like swans, or something infected with some disease. Well there were a ton of bizarre looking gourds this year and the boys wanted to find the ones that were the craziest looking.

I honestly have no idea how they grow these things to look like that.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 16, 2012

How to Create a Facebook Interest List

This is probably something that has been done numerous times and a quick search tells me that I am not alone in writing a post like this.  It's certainly not my usual stuff about my kids, or anything that involves Legos either.  As a blogger I try to create content and try to get it out to as many people that I possibly can.  That obviously means I have to use the wonderful world of social media to accomplish that task.

Grr. Lego Mark Zuckerberg
I have grown to love Twitter as I have met a bunch of great people who all share similar interests as me.  It's fun, and the instantaneous interaction can't be beat.  Then there is Facebook.  I've been told to never rely on Facebook because as long as they are in charge of what people see (which will always be the case) not everyone is going to see my posts.  Unless of course I want to pay for the privilege, which unless I write something so profound like War and Peace is never going to happen.

I won't get into the boring details about algorithms and how Facebook decides who sees your posts.  I don't understand it myself.  What I do know is that everyone is NOT seeing every one of my posts, and that is annoying.  You spend a lot of time trying to cultivate new followers and people that will eventually turn into blog readers.  Blog readers means more page views, more page views eventually means book deals, books become movies, movies make me rich, my kids go to Ivy League schools, and I am sipping margaritas on a beach in the Caribbean.

 So how do we get people to make sure that all of our posts are being seen on Facebook?  You create an interest list.  It's almost like making your own customized news feed with everything that you actually care about.  If I happen to be in it that's awesome.

The first step is to find the page that you want to follow.  Where it says "Like" or "Liked" you hover your mouse over that spot and a drop down screen shows the line "Add to Interest Lists."  You then click on that where you will see the following:

In my case I have already created a list called "Blogs."  This is where I follow certain blogs and other pages from my personal Facebook page.  If you don't have one created, just click on "New List" where you are given the option to title your new list.  If you do enjoy reading certain pages I suggest that you lump them all in one.  You can obviously create different interests, for example if you followed a bunch of comedians as well you could create a comedy list.

So now that we created the list, where does it appear?  On the left hand side of your news feed is a list of everything that you are a member of or all of the apps that you have allowed Facebook to gather all of your personal information.  You can now see the little "Interests" title with our new list of blogs underneath.  If you click on that list you can now see your very own customized newsfeed with everything that you really care about (namely me.)

So, even if I am not included in your new Interest List (boo hoo) hopefully this will make your Facebook experience a little more enjoyable.  I know that I am constantly frustrated by their ever changing website and their ability to control our information and more so by their ability to control who sees what.  I understand Facebook's need to make money but it should not be a little guys like me who are just trying to entertain people.  I am not a huge company like Exxon Mobil or Johnson & Johnson, at least not yet anyway.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 9, 2012

Poop on a Stick

When Tyler was younger he had a fascination with music.

While the music has seemed to fade a little bit, other forms or artistic expression have moved to the forefront.  He really found a passion for drawing and has always been really good at it.  I wouldn't go and say he is Picasso quite yet, but for an eight year old he does seem to have a special ability.  So, while he may never be the athletic star that most fathers want their sons to be, I can totally see him opening art galleries or at the very least selling his artwork on the streets of Rome, and that is pretty cool.

But I have noticed that music has not completely left his sight.  I will catch him singing along in the car to whatever is on the radio.  Yeah his voice is a little pitchy but for a boy you can't really expect much until their voice completely changes (please don't let that happen.)  He will make up songs and run around the house singing them, mostly he just changes a few lyrics to a popular song and calls it his own.  He actually is quite clever.  Then their are other times where he comes up with a song that is completely original and he blows my mind.  I get these songs stuck in my head and the next thing you know I am at the checkout in the grocery store singing the lyrics to his latest "Poop on a Stick."

I suppose we need to work on the lyrics, but for the first try I think it's actually quite good.  Another thing, I didn't realize that Carter was such a drummer.

My kids, rockstars?!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 4, 2012


All my bags are packed, and I am ready to go.

Off to the Nations Capital to meet with my fellow stay at homers.  I honestly don't know what to think about it as I have never been to any conference in my life, let alone one about being a stay at home dad.  I do know a few people that will be in attendance, but I hate these environments where I am basically flying solo.  My wife is usually the more outgoing of the two of us so any big events like a wedding or a bar mitzvah, she is the one who strikes up any conversation.  I'm THAT guy who is constantly making a beeline towards the open bar.  By the end of the night I am a wasted mess and my wife is yelling at me for being a drunken fool.  Good times really.

One day I'll get my own monument 
But little Johnny is on his own and this is different.  Hopefully I can actually get something out of this, and not just a massive hangover.  There are a few speakers that I am looking forward too, there's one about cooking ( I suck at it) and one about transitioning back INTO the work force.  Let's face it, this is not a job that is going to last forever, and I am not so sure I want to completely go back to my old job.  It was great, but I have seen the future, and am not so sure that it is something that I really want to do anymore.

This weekend will be a nice break for me.  My wife has seen my demeanor change a little bit recently, I have been more apt to fly off the handle and yell more than I have ever used to.  Lets face it, everyone needs a break from their job sometimes. Since mine is a 24/7 gig, I HAVE to get out of the house.  Vacations aren't vacations, it just means my job continues somewhere else away from home.  Imagine being in your office all hours of the day, every day of the year.  You can go a little crazy. I am sure I am not alone in this.

And that is the most important thing to me this weekend.

It'll be nice being surrounded by a bunch of other people that know exactly what I am going through.  Sometimes being a stay at home dad can be the most lonely job in the world and it's conferences like this that let me know I AM NOT ALONE.  So I don't know fully what to expect, but I hope there is a bar somewhere and that I won't be the only one walking back and forth to it.

To follow along with me at the conference on Twitter you can search the hashtag #DiCinDC. It's not going to be just about what I am hearing or seeing at the conference, hopefully we'll have some surprise guests appear in that stream.  I will obviously post my normal nonsense to Facebook as well to keep you abreast of everything conference related.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 3, 2012

Wednesday's Window

Finishing up our vacation series, we bring you to the state of Maine.  We have always wanted to go to Maine, but it really is quite a far drive from our house.  Needless to say it is a drive we will be taking more often.  It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.  The views are absolutely stunning.  Whether its the rocks or the ocean or where the rocks MEET the ocean, the scenery can't be beat.  Each little fishing village is more beautiful than the next.  It's hard to capture everything a just a few images, but I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window

View from the rocks at Acadia National Park
Happy to make it up Cadillac Mountain
A moment of reflection on Cadillac Mountain
At peace
The rocks meet the waves
More Acadia National Park
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park
More rocks
Beautiful fishing village
Boothbay Harbor at sunset
Portland Head Light

I think my wife is already planning a return trip. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if she already bought a house up there.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?