June 29, 2012

Oh to be 18 Again

What would I say to my 18 year old self?

Obviously that is a very difficult question.  You don't want to give too much away, but you don't want to leave your 18 year old self just hanging out there with no guidance.  Part of the fun of life is that you just never know what is going to happen next.  Around the next corner could be something awesome, or something scary.

Well I was given the chance to speak to my former self on someone else's blog!

Jamie Walker has given me the opportunity to try and speak some sense into young Johnny at her blog Chosen Chaos.  She has a whole series of bloggers that spew their wisdom to their younger selves, it's really a cool idea.

So today that's where I will be, trying to knock some sense into that thick head of mine.

Click RIGHT HERE to see what I have to say.


You can follow Jamie's Blog on Facebook or Twitter... Check it out!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 26, 2012

Camp vs. Home

I knew that this was going to happen.

The first day of camp was too much of a success.  It was the same thing last year. There were no tears and no screaming. The first day brought a little bit of excitement, it was the 20 other days that were a nightmare.  Today was no different.  I don't know what happens on the first day to make every subsequent day thereafter unbearable, but it appears that is going to be the case again this summer.

My oldest one gets it.  I don't know that he loves camp, but he goes without an issue.  He seems to enjoy it, but if you ask him a few weeks from now, he might hate the lack of video games and the heat that will surely settle upon our area. My youngest is a whole other story.  He finds any excuse to NOT want to go. Today's was that the pool was too cold.  Some days it's that there are leaves in the pool, others that there are too many hills.  You get the idea, he's trying to convince me that there are a lot of things wrong with this place, as if I am not going to send him one day.

That won't happen.

Lets give you a rundown of what their day is like and what it would be like at home:

9:00 CAMP - Dropoff! Tyler gets out of the car willingly, Carter is kicking and screaming.
9:00 HOME - The boys are arguing about Legos, Carter has woken up on the wrong side of his bed, and he proceeds to yell and scream that Tyler has a "cooler" guy and that I am stupid.

10:00 CAMP - Tyler is doing Archery, Carter is taking a swim lessons.  Carter LOVES the pool.  It's hard to get him out of it sometimes, plus he loves wearing goggles, he thinks it makes him look cool.
10:00 HOME - After an hour of calming Carter down, we have found the one lego mini figure head that he has been looking for. However his legs don't match his body and that sets him off again.  Breakfast is thrown on the floor and I spend the next 15 minutes cleaning up the food that neither kid has eaten.

11:00 CAMP - Tyler is now in the pool where he is in the advanced group working on his back stroke.  Carter is creating some project with macaroni that we will most certainly hang on the pantry door in our kitchen.
11:00 HOME - I have finally gotten the boys dressed after searching the house for a lego knife that we only have one of.  However Carter now wants a blaster than his brother is playing with, and he proceeds to rip a picture made with macaroni from last years camp off the pantry door.

12:00 CAMP - Lunchtime for both boys.  They sit quietly eating their meals that I have prepared for them and they finish every last bite in less than 30 minutes.
12:00 HOME - Lunchtime for both boys.  I give them the same food that they would have eaten at camp, but neither touches any of it and we argue about how long lunch is taking, upwards of an hour.

1:00 CAMP - Tyler is enjoying a canoe ride in the pond and Carter is catching fish.
1:00 HOME - After cleaning up from lunch Tyler disappears to play a video game while Carter begins to yell that Tyler is not playing with him.

2:00 CAMP - Tyler is back in the pool enjoying some free swim with a couple of friends he made last year.  Carter is immersed in a kickball game where he kicks a home run.
2:00 HOME - Both boys want ice cream.  I proceed to tell them that since they didn't eat their lunch there will be no ice cream.  Carter begins to melt down and an argument ensues, much screaming and yelling can be heard from our house.

He loves to swim!
3:00 CAMP - Carter is now back in the pool after overcoming his fear of the leaves that have fallen from the trees.  He looks like a fish and is seemingly having the time of his life with his new camp friends. Tyler is climbing the rock wall where for the first time he reaches the top.
3:00 HOME - The boys want to watch a movie. Carter gets upset that the options for what to watch on Netflix are limited to say the least. Popcorn is thrown all over the basement floor and we finally settle on Power Rangers.

4:00 CAMP - Pickup!  Both boys tell me what an awesome day they had at camp and how much fun every activity was.  Tyler tells me about his new best friend Bob for the next half hour and Carter shows me his macaroni project. A quick stop to get ices is in order on our way home.
4:00 HOME - I decide to get out of the house and take the kids to the spray ground. Carter gets upset that he is getting wet and after 15 minutes we decide to leave.  A quick stop to the liquor store is in order on our way home.

5:00 HOME - We are now home and we are either hanging Carters macaroni project on the pantry door or are popping open the first of what will be many beers this evening.

I don't know why there is such an issue with going to camp, but for the sake of me becoming an alcoholic, they NEED to go.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 20, 2012

Summer... Starring Legos

It's finally the first day of summer.  It's been warm here in New Jersey for a month now, but we haven't gotten temperatures that has made me want take pictures of my cars thermometer.  Usually by now we've had a couple of days in the 90's but its been really nice and hasn't gotten to that extreme level yet. Then the first day of summer comes along and it's going to be close to 100 degrees today.  THAT is too hot if you ask me. It makes me way to stay indoors, because for me especially, it's important to stay cool.

How do you keep cool when the temperature rises?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 15, 2012

Be Prepared?

I thought I was prepared to be a parent.

I mean after all I have been dad for almost eight years now. I've changed my fair share of diapers, packed enough school lunches, and washed numerous loads of laundry. Turns out that that is the easy stuff.

No one ever prepared me for the emotions involved in this whole parenting thing.

It's not something that you read about because I don't know if anyone can actually describe how you are going to feel at any given moment.  One second you are happy as can be that your son got a hit in a T ball game, the next you're crying your eyes out dropping your kid off on the last day of preschool.

That was me.

I didn't realize how difficult of a moment this would be for me, seeing him disappear through the doors of his school of two years for the last time.  My little guy is going in those doors a little boy and coming out a big kid. There will be no more driving him to school everyday blaring one of his favorite songs on the radio.  No more opening the door for him and telling him to have a great day.  Our little morning routine is changing, forever.

My little boy is changing, forever,

He's growing up. Fast. As much as I don't like to see it happen I am going to have to accept that reality sooner or later.  One of these years I will be dropping him off at college seeing him disappear through the doors of his dormitory.  I'm not prepared for that.

I don't know if ever will be.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 13, 2012

Wednesday's Window... The Graduate

Bringing back one of my favorite segments of this blog, we take you to my little guy Carter's preschool graduation.  I am normally not a fan of these types of things where we celebrate every little achievement that our kids accomplish.  When I was a kid we had ONE graduation, that I know of anyway. My school housed all students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, so there were no ceremonies celebrating each passing milestone.  There were no milestones, except for when you graduated High School. Nowadays there are preschool graduations, Kindergarten graduations, Elementary School graduations, Middle School graduations, and of course High School graduations. It's a little much.

Having said all that, I think I have changed my mind, at least with preschool graduations anyways.  In the two short years that he has been at his preschool, he's gone from being a little boy to really a big kid.  The growth has been amazing.  He couldn't count at all and now he is doing simple math problems using his fingers.  What used to be a scribble, is now a fully legible written name.  Sure there are a lot of things that he needs to work on, but seeing where he is now is definitely something to celebrate. Besides all that, who would want to miss out on their kid performing on a big stage.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window

If you couldn't guess, Carter is all the way on the left.

My little guy, the graduate! If any of the other graduations are like this one, I might change my mind about them too.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 11, 2012

Dads Don't Babysit


They know I don't babysit
If you are half a parent, mom or dad, you get it.  It's an equal thing.  It's called parenting. Mom's do it. Dads do it. And sometimes even Grandparents have to step in and do it.  I don't babysit and I don't know any dad that does.  There are some fellow Dad Bloggers that would make it seem like everyone is out to get them, that for some reason or another there is this higher power that is holding us all back from being the parent that we want to be.

Here is a tip. The only people that are holding us back from being the dads we want to be, are dads themselves. 

There is a reason why some advertisers choose to portray us as bumbling fools, there are a bunch of men that still ARE bumbling fools.  And what do they say about one bad apple spoiling a bunch?  Well, there are bushels upon bushels of men that make us all look bad.

We are fighting the wrong people.  The message is being sent to the wrong place.  

It's not the government or Madison Avenue that is to blame for the lack of respect that many dads feel that they get.  It's our own brethren.  Until ALL dads step up and prove that they are capable of being an equal parent, we will be looked upon as fools.

I just can't get over the fact that so many think we are being suppressed as a parent.

Here are some things to look at.  We can vote just like mom, we can drink out of the same water fountain as mom, and we can even ride the same bus as her.  This is not the 60's south where we are looked down upon based on the color of our skin, this is 2012, we can be the equal of mom if we CHOOSE to be her equal. Society is NOT holding us back.  WE are holding us back. I am tired of hearing the woe is me attitude of so many of my fellow dads. Just be a dad and stop worrying about what everyone thinks.

Dads don't babysit?

Prove that you don't.  

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 6, 2012

Single Dad Laughing... Starring Legos

I decided to start a summer Lego blogger series here on Daddy's in Charge.  I have immortalized a few bloggers over the past year in plastic and the response has been overwhelming. It seems that everyone wants to be a Lego mini figure.  Sometimes I feel like one as throughout the course of the day I can hear them speak to me.  Or maybe it's just the voices in my head telling me that I have too many Legos.  Either way, I thought it was time to start letting everyone in on the action.

First up is Dan Pearce from Single Dad Laughing.  If you haven't heard of him you are probably living under a rock.  It seems like 75,000,000 people read his blog everyday.  Some of his posts have gone uberviral to the point that I think it is now required reading in most colleges and universities.*  He has the type of success most of us in blogging world only dream about.  Of course with success comes the detractors.  Some people think he is a robot programmed to spit out  blog posts, while others think he has a team high in the Himalayas churning out viral post after viral post.  Whether that is the case or not, lots of people read him and lots of people are inspired by him. 

This is only part one of our series. Please continue to tune in over the course of the summer months as you never know who might appear in this very blog.  

*I might be making this up

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 4, 2012

The Clothes That Make the Man Cry

There are some things I hate about being a stay at home dad.  Organizing just happens to be one of them, and it's not for the reasons you might think.

Today I decided that I needed to move out all of the old clothes in Carter's closet.  A lot of these clothes have been with us since Tyler was his age, which means they have been with us for almost five years.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of memories wrapped up in these old duds, and since Carter is most likely our last child, these clothes will never be seen again.

Part of what I struggle with now is the fact that HE WILL be our last kid.  When my wife and I first decided to have kids we always assumed that we would have three.  We each come from families of five so it would only make sense that we would continue that trend.  But Carter is five now and the idea of adding another child to the mix some six years after giving birth to him just doesn't see likely.  A family of four works just works for right now, and it looks as though life will move forward the way it is.

Which brings me today and putting the clothes away.  

There are a lot of memories here in this closet.  With every shirt I can picture a different part of our lives, whether it was trips that we have made or weekends that we have spent as a family.  Some of them haven't been worn in years, and part of the reason is that I just wasn't ready to close that chapter of my life.  Once they go into storage, that's it, five years packed away, just like that.

This was Tyler's shirt.  He wore it everywhere.  I can remember him wearing it to Niagara Falls and Disney World just to name a couple of  places, but the place I remember it most is Point Pleasant Beach and his second birthday.  Tyler turns eight in a little over a month, but this shirts reminds me of that little diaper wearing kid walking on the beach almost six years ago.  It really is unbelievable to me how quickly that time has gone.  

Then there is Carter.  This was his fancy shirt for almost four years.  Yeah I know it's ridiculous that he could wear the same shirt for that long, but when he first started wearing it around his first birthday it was pretty big on him.  Since he is smaller than most kids his age it still fit him when he decided himself to wear it this past Thanksgiving.  This shirt has been all over the world including trips to France and Italy.  Quick side note, Carter thinks that any shirt with a button is fancy.

I only got through the closet today.  I couldn't bear going through his drawers.  He has the cutest little butt and the thought that he might need bigger underwear is just too much to take. We'll save that for another day.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 1, 2012

Facebook... Starring Lego Mark Zuckerberg

The goal of most bloggers is to get their stories out to as many people as possible. We join hundreds of social media sites and share our posts all over the internet in hopes that everyone in the world reads them, and then it turns into a book, a movie, or maybe even an iPhone app. The thought that what I say could be read in places like Romania or Bangalore is pretty cool. Up until recently we thought everyone was getting our message, but apparently they were not.

To give you an idea, if I wanted to reach my entire Facebook audience of 1282 people and various other pages instead of the around 17% of them that I currently reach, I would have to fork over around $6.00 per post to "promote"it.  It may not seem like much but when you make no money blogging, that's a lot.  I have a feeling that one day we'll be looking back on Facebook the same way we did with MySpace. When the next big thing comes around people will go there. In the meantime I will continue to post on Facebook, but most of my time will spent on Twitter, where at least for now, I don't have to pay to post to people.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?