July 31, 2012

The Tea Cups are the Devil

I've officially gotten old.

I never thought I would actually admit it, but roller coasters just might not be my thing anymore. I can still ride all of the wooden ones, which for my money have always been the best, but the ones that flip upside down and do those crazy corkscrews, I think my days are numbered.

There are lots of rides that I can't go on anymore and it seems that those are the ones that the kids enjoy the most. The number one ride that is no longer doable for me is the Tea Cups. I can't think of a more horrible experience on a ride; you spin and spin and spin to the point of wanting to throw up. Where is the joy in that? The number two ride is any little kids roller coaster. The seats seem to be positioned right in the area of your back that causes the most pain. I have never been in as much pain getting off a ride than I was getting off a ride called Roadrunners Runaway Railroad. Seriously.

I know I am not alone in this. There are countless people my age that have thrown up on the Tea Cups and ended up in traction after getting off a kids roller coaster. I don't mind that so much because my kids will outgrow those rides.

It's the big metal roller coasters that bother me though. My kids are just getting to the age where these rides are what excites them when they go to an amusement park. They don't excite me at all. They make me nauseous and I get the feeling of almost blacking out.

I knew this day would come, I just never thought that it would come this soon. I see my dad and he can't go on certain rides anymore, but he is 75. I'm only 38 and the thought of a full lifetime ahead of me without roller coasters kind of stinks. I just hope it never gets to the point where the wooden ones are off limits for me.

I guess if you need to find me at the amusement park I'll be that guy riding a scooter around going from the Ferris Wheel to the Merry Go Round. Those I can still do.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 25, 2012

The Coffee Lovin' Mom

By now everyone knows that I love Legos.

My kids have tons of them, and I mean tons!  I grew up with them and I have passed along my love for them to my kids.  They now are obsessed.  My wife must really love us to put up with this.  I started making lego movies last year as kind of an experiment.  I was actually testing out the editing software on my computer more than anything and out popped a lego movie.  It was more of a day in the life than anything else.

Nobody watched them.

Of course nobody read my blog back then either.  I still can't be convinced that people do now, and that my numbers are completely inflated by hackers in the Ukraine.  Well even if nobody took the time to watch these videos, I would still make them.  I really have been able to document my families life through these little plastic play pieces.

It seems that I have become some sort of go to guy when it comes Legos, which is pretty cool, because there are websites WAY bigger than mine that cater to the Lego crazed society that we now live in.  I like when people come to me asking for advice on traveling to Legoland or if I know when a certain set is coming out.  I never intended to make EVERYTHING about legos, it just happened that way.

It's always nice when I come across other families that share our passion for legos. One person in particular is Amy of Coffee Lovin' Mom fame.  I guess I am revered as some sort of God in her sons eyes. Funny because my kids don't look at me that way.

Part two of my Summer Lego Blogger series takes you to Amy's Blog. Click RIGHT HERE to be transported over there.

Of course you can follow Coffee Lovin' Mom on Twitter or Facebook.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 23, 2012

Start as You Mean to Go On

Support our Disney Fund
by visiting Parent Society
It's a phrase that my wife uses all the time.

But it's not one that we follow all the time.  Too often, we start to set precedents with our kids that we just can't go back on. Whether it's that two hour long bedtime routine or cutting the crusts off of sandwiches, our kids get used to things certain ways.  What do they say about teaching an old dog new tricks? It's not that easy.

I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. 

Before you go and do something for the comfort of your child I ask you to go over to Parent Society and check out some tips I have to offer to make your life easier.  What you are doing now, may have consequences in the future.  Yeah I don't just write here, I can be found all over these internets.

Find more on this article at Parent Society by clicking: 

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Window... Letchworth

There are many great things about growing up in Upstate New York.  One of them is the awesome beauty of the countryside.  My favorite place on Earth, at least the one that is easily accessible anyway, is the Finger Lakes Region. It's where my parents still I've so it gives us the opportunity to visit as much as we want.  I have previously shown you the wine region around Seneca and Keuka Lakes but today  I am giving you a glimpse into a place that I think is one of the MOST spectacular places I have ever seen.

It seems that every region has their own Grand Canyon, and this area is no different.  Letchworth State Park, while nowhere near the size of the Grand Canyon, in my eyes is every bit as beautiful. Carved out of the rocks by the Genesee River, Letchworth is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls on the east coast.  Since my parents live only about 20 minutes from there, it was time to load the kids and my mom in the car and go give it a look.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

Letchworth Middle Falls
My mom with Tyler and Carter
Looking down the middle falls
Letchworth Upper Falls
Years of erosion
Letchworth Lower Falls

The amazing thing about Upstate New York is there seems to be a waterfall everywhere that you turn and all of the seem to be easily accessible.  It's a beautiful place and a place that I am happy to call home.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 16, 2012

Slowing Summer Down

Where the hell are the days going?

You can't really look me in the eye and tell me that it's the middle of July already.  There is no way.  Just yesterday we were ripping open Christmas presents and now we are cleaning up the ashes from all the fourth of July fireworks. I always get the feeling that the Fourth of July is the beginning of the end of the summer.  It's almost as if there are no more holidays to look forward to for a while so we just sit and wait until Labor Day.

They love the beach
We always try and pack as much as possible into our summer, but it always seems to go by too fast.  We try to get to the beach as much as we can, but if there happens to be a rainy day, it ends up ruining the weekend and plans have to get shifted around in order for us to get back. When you live in the Northeast you have a limited window of opportunity to do these sort of things.  Usually from Memorial Day to Labor Day with the possibility that there will be a few really nice spring and fall days.  One year we went to the beach in January but THAT was an aberration.

We try to make a list every year of things we want to do, and every year it seems that we run out of time before we get it all done.  I have sworn for years that each year was going to be THE year that we take the boys camping.  Then of course one weekend gets washed out and before you know in your picking apples in October wondering just where the summer went.

It just seems to fly by.

Hell the whole year just seems to fly by.  I almost feel as if each passing day is exponentially faster than the next.  When you are a kid though, the summer goes on FOREVER.  At least that's how it felt to me.  Once school got out, the lazy summer days seemed to go on and on. Which was fine by me.

But now as a parent there is nothing that we can do to make it all just go in slow motion.  Everything just seems to be shot out of a canon and racing 150 miles per hour. Maybe we are over planning things, maybe we just need to kick back and relax, maybe we are trying too hard to make sure our kids are having fun? Maybe all it takes is a run through the sprinkler or a couple ice pops to make it all slow down? Maybe instead of trying to fit everything in, we should try to fit nothing in.

That lake house is looking more and more appealing everyday.

This is where we would love a lake house

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 13, 2012

Beautiful Boy... Starring Legos and More

8 years old.

I don't even know how that is possible.  While it seems like yesterday that Tyler came into our lives, in many ways it seems like he has been around forever. It's hard to even imagine life before him. He has been the most awesome kid that any father could ask for. Sweet, loving, smart, funny, you name it Tyler possesses every great quality that every parent dreams about.

He is the best kid I know.

Happy 8th Birthday Tyler.  You truly are one beautiful boy.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 11, 2012

Wednesday's Window... Niagara Falls

We were fortunate enough last week to head to upstate New York and visit my folks. They live less than two hours from one of the most amazing sights in the entire world, Niagara Falls.  A couple of weeks ago I saw that guy tight rope walk his way into Canada and it was that moment I decided that we should make a return visit to one of the Wonders of the World.  See it WAS a brilliant marketing ploy and I am sure that I wasn't the only one who decided that do to go for a visit that day.

This is actually our second trip to the Falls with the family.  Our first trip we took almost six years ago before Carter was even born.  Tyler was  just turning two at the time and while he didn't like the idea of getting soaked on the Maid of the Mist, he seemed to really enjoy it.  Aside from the Falls you will notice something about the entire area.  The Canadian side is much more developed than the American side.  Canada has every tourist trap known to man while the American side has nothing to offer except for the opportunity to get right up next to the falls.  The neighborhood around the falls on the American side leaves a lot to be desired as there are boarded up buildings only a few blocks away.  It really is pretty sad having this amazing site and literally two blocks away it looks like a bomb went off. If you go, bring your passport and go into Canada, it's a way better experience.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

From the Canadian Side
From the American side on Luna Island
Horseshoe Falls.
Getting ready for the Maid of the Mist
Right up next to the falls
You forget how many rocks have fallen off over the years
Looking up at the people on Goat Island
Underneath Horseshoe Falls
The American Falls
Amazing how you can stand within 10 feet of the plunge
Even more amazing that you can stand underneath the falls

It really is breath taking.  

In the coming weeks I will share with you some more amazing waterfalls that I have seen in Upstate New York.  It amazes me just how many there are up there.  Each more beautiful than the other

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


July 9, 2012

Without You I'm Nothing

This is a picture of my little brother and I sometime around 1980.  I was probably seven which made him close to four.  When you are that age you have no idea the impact you might have on your little brother, hell I still have no idea if I made any impact on him. You can't really make out the words too well on my sweatshirt but the Zero is saying to the One in the number 10, "Without you I'm nothing." 

Sometimes I feels as if it's that way with Carter and his older brother.  Carter knows no other life than that with Tyler.  As long as he has been alive his older brother has been there right beside him.  Tyler had those two years without Carter and I don't know if he remembers any of it, but I almost feel as if he learned to be a little more self sufficient in the time before Carter was born.  Drawing comes more naturally, playing video games is a cinch to him, and he picked up reading much quicker than Carter seems to be doing. 

Carter has relied on Tyler. 

Whenever he needs help with something, he goes right to his big brother.  Not that Tyler is a huge help all of the time, but he will step in and help his little brother out.  That is of course when wants to, which when you are the older brother, can get pretty annoying when there is someone screaming at you for help.

Why is Carter wearing sunglasses? Because Tyler is.
Carter is the worlds biggest copycat.  If Tyler is walking around without a shirt on, Carter does the same.  If he is wearing sneakers instead of his usual Crocs, Carter has to follow suit.  You get the idea, whatever Tyler does, Carter is sure to follow.

It comes back to that sweatshirt.

What would Carter be without his older brother? Certainly he wouldn't be nothing.  But how much different would he be without Tyler living right by his side.  This is something we won't know about for years to come when Tyler heads off to college.  I don't know how Carter is going to react to the fact that he won't be living under the same roof as his older brother.

He might just be lost.

Carter has the idea he will be living with Tyler for the rest of his life.  In fact he said as much by saying that when he gets bigger and graduates college, he's going to move in with him.  Upon hearing that, Tyler said that if that is indeed the case, he is going to make Carter pay all of the property taxes.

Payback I guess.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?