December 18, 2013

What Color is Santa Claus?

Not surprisingly a TV anchor put her foot her mouth by telling the world to just accept the fact that Santa Claus is white.

There are obviously some that will believe her and say that she is right.  Myself I have never seen a Santa at the mall that was anything other than caucasion, but that doesn't mean that I don't think that Santa could be any other race.  It's really a stupid thing to say to tell someone what they should or should not believe.

Some might think one way, and others might think another way.  As for my kids, their thinking is entirely different.



Whatever color your Santa is, Merry Christmas.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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December 12, 2013

Jeans For the Modern Man… Starring Legos

I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about fashion.

I will put on a pair of jeans and wear them for weeks on end without washing them.  I know it sounds disgusting, but I like the feel of dirty well worn jeans more than I do a pair that has spent time in dryer somewhere.  Honestly, as soon as you wash a pair of jeans it takes a couple of days of wearing them until they feel "right" again.

Certainly I am not alone and since I do the laundry in my house, I can make that decision.  If my wife did the laundry, perhaps my jeans would be clean all of the time and none of them would fit.

Lee jeans may be the pants I'm looking for
I have tried all different brands of jeans… Old Navy, Levis, Wrangler, and now Lee.  I am admittedly cheap when it comes to buying a pair.  For years I would only buy Old Navy jeans because they only cost $19.99.  I was never concerned about how they looked (my wife hated them) or how long they lasted.  They would usually fall off of me and be torn to shreds in less than a years time.  All of them are now covered house paint because I wouldn't want ruin a good pair.

So I have been on the look out for a new brand.  Admittedly there are few styles that fit.  I have bigger thighs and a small butt so all of these straight leg kinds are out.  Nobody I know wears skinny jeans and I hope to never meet a man that does.  Relaxed fit is my jean of choice, but not the tapered leg variety because once again my wife does get her say every now and then.  What is the phrase, "If you look good in jeans your wife won't be so mean?" Something like that.

I was approached by Lee Jeans to give their pants a try.  I was a little skeptical at first because I automatically flashed back to elementary school and my first thought was that people were going to come up and "brand" me.  It's all I could think of.  I would walk around and people would come up to me and poke my Lee Jeans with the sound of a branding iron.  I only assume that you get that reference.

But I was also intrigued.  Maybe I was being to harsh in my assessment of the old brand thing and Lee Jeans would be just the pair of pants I would want to wear.



The Lee Modern Series might just be the style of jeans that I am looking for, but the truth is I won't know for sure for some time.  I need to wear them without washing them for a few more weeks.  I'll keep you posted.

Lee was kind enough to offer me a couple of pairs of jeans to try out in exchange for this post. Now they want to give you the opportunity to try them out for yourself.  They are being kind enough to give away any one item of your choice from Lee.com.  All you have to do is enter below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Lee compensated me for this post, but all opinions are my own unless my wife tells me otherwise


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

________________________________________

December 5, 2013

The Last First

I'm usually pretty good with milestones.

I'm not one to get choked up every time that my kids accomplish something for the first time.  Most of them just happen so quickly that you really don't have time to react.  I can remember vividly when Tyler rolled over for the first time, it was over nine years ago now.  I can also remember when Carter took his first steps six years ago this March.  Those firsts were great.  But I've noticed something though as my kids get older.

While the first firsts were met with excitement, it's the last firsts that leave me with sadness.

This smile is changing forever
Every time that Tyler passed a milestone I knew that it wouldn't be the last time that it happened.  With a younger brother we would be going through the same thing a couple of years later. As Carter gets older though it's beginning to hit me that certain things just aren't going to happen ever again.

Carter is about to lose his two front teeth.

When it happened to Tyler, I did feel like he was getting older but nothing like I am feeling with Carter. Maybe it would be different if there was a third kid, but there isn't going to be a third kid.  Every time something happens to Carter, it's going to be the last time it happens in our family.

There will be a lot more last firsts - girlfriends, college, getting married, having kids of their own - I just don't know that I am ready for them quite yet.    

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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November 19, 2013

Giving Away Old Memories and Starting New Ones

My basement doesn't look like this anymore
There has been a lot of stuff just taking up space in my house for a few years.

Bins of old clothes, old broken toys, and a lot of stuff that can just be considered junk at this point have been sitting idle in my storage room for a long time.  One of the realities as a parent is that your kids are not getting any younger and as much as I try to hold on to pieces of the past, we aren't going backwards.

I started to run out of space.

As much as I would love to see Carter wear his 3T clothes one more time, it's time to move on.  And Tyler's old stuffed animals haven't been played with in seemingly forever; perhaps they would be better suited with someone else.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get this done.  Perhaps part of me is just not ready to turn the page on this chapter of our lives.  If I hold on to the memories of the past, maybe the future won't arrive so soon?  I don't think anyone is ready to have their kids grow up, especially me.

I got rid of seven giant garbage bags full of clothes the other day and I have a mound of perfectly good toys just waiting to find an owner.  The truth is I will miss all of those things, but it's time to start making new memories.

Now that my storage room has space, I won't have to go through this again for another couple of years.

It's not an easy thing to do.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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October 30, 2013

Standing By...

The kids are getting bigger, and it kind of sucks.

It's a sad reality as a parent when your kids start to outgrow some of their stuff.  I have a basement full of old toys that they used to play with that now just sits idle in hopes that they play with them once again.  The truth is they probably won't. There are other things that are occupying their time now, big kid things.  But the toys in the basement are there - standing by - just in case.




John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

________________________________________

October 28, 2013

My Syracuse Fandom and Target NCAA Giveaway

When it comes to NCAA obsessions in my house, there is only one... Syracuse Orange Basketball.

I am a graduate of Syracuse but my fandom for the school started way before I stepped foot on the campus.  When Keith Smart hit the jumper to beat SU in 1987, that was probably the single worst moment of my life up until that point. I know what you are thinking, that I am probably taking it a bit too far, but this is Syracuse we are talking about, not Stony Brook.

My buddy Chris and I with SU legend John Wallace
When Syracuse won the national title in 2003, that day ranks up in the top 10 moments of my life.  My wife thinks that I would put it higher than my wedding day, and as she says unlike weddings SU winning a national title in basketball only happens once in a lifetime. BURN!

With their move to the ACC this year, there are high hopes for the team. Of course there are always high hopes from me as I pick them to win every year.  It's called being a fan right?

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well I was asked to let you know that Target has teamed up with Dove Men+Care, AXE, Degree Men, and the NCAA to help guys keep smelling fresh.  You are asked to put your skills to the test and play the "Save your season" QB Challenge for a chance to win and Xbox One.

Also at Target you will receive a $5 gift card when you buy any three participatingDove Men+ Care, AXE or Degree Men products from now until 11/9.  Just because your team may stink (mine won't) doesn't mean that you have to.  Don't forget to join @resourcefulmom for a Twitter party on 11/4 at 8:00PM using the hashtag #TargetNCAA.

Also here is your chance to win $20 from Target (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was compensated for this post but all opinions about Syracuse being the best basketball team on Earth are my own.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

________________________________________

October 23, 2013

Create 2 Destroy and the Power of Outdoor Play

It's been many years since my boys last played with Play-Doh.

Honestly, if you are like me, its fun to play with OUTSIDE but never indoors.  The little balls of dough always dried up and made a mess of of the floor.  I swear it's the only thing worse than crumbs in my eyes.  I made the mistake when the kids were really little to let them have at it in the kitchen, but as a parent you live and learn.  Take that stuff outside and save me the aggravation of having to sweep the floors more than I already do.

I had almost given up on the product.  My boys no longer showed an interest in it, partly from me NOT wanting them to play with it and partly that they were getting older and into a lot of other things.  In fact I just threw out a complete set the other day so I could make room in a closet for my wife's Pumpkin Puree obsession.  She eats so much pumpkin she has actually started to turn a little shade of orange.

Enter Crayola.

The folks at Crayola wanted to know if I would take part in a little competition amongst some other bloggers making videos on Instagram showcasing their new Create 2 Destroy product line.  Me, not one to stand in the way of showcasing my kids, agreed right away.  When the box came in the mail the kids were actually excited (perhaps they weren't done playing with these sort of things after all.)  So outside we went.  They promise that the Morphix dough won't crumble and scatter all over my kitchen, but I wasn't taking ANY chances.  This is strictly an OUTSIDE toy regardless of what is promised.

My kids had a little trouble with the molds of the cars and trees in the Dino Destruction Metropolitan Mayhem, but overall they enjoyed just creating bombs that they could fling at each other.  Perhaps the set wasn't designed to cause World War 3, but when you get two competitive little boys that's what happens. And since we were OUTSIDE who was I to stand in the way of a good time?

This was the video that we came up with:



Now I need your help.  The contest is officially underway so I need you to go and vote for me right HERE.  It's very easy.  Follow the steps to vote for videos and find my name "Daddy's in Charge" not the "Dad in Charge" one (unless you think his is better than mine).  But as you know, I am a professional at this sort of thing. This process is NOT easy to accomplish from a mobile phone and a desktop is recommended.

AND!!!!

You guys have a chance to make your own videos with the product as well.  All you have to do is follow @Crayola on Instagram and include your kids descriptive story line in the caption/ video description.  Also make sure that you use the hashtag #Create2Destroy in the description as well.  The winning video storyline will be featured on the 2014 Product Box. HOW COOL IS THAT?

AND!!!

You can win your own Create 2 Destroy set by entering the contest below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was supplied a set by Crayola and was compensated for my time and this post.  All opinions are mine except when told by my wife what to think otherwise.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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October 3, 2013

5 Rules for People on Scooters

First of all I want to apologize to all the scooter riding people in the world.  I have no idea why you are riding the scooter or the circumstances that put you there. I can only assume that you no longer have full use of your legs or you just like riding around in a scooter.

With that being said, there are some simple rules that you need to follow to make sure your ride is a pleasurable one for you and for me.

1. You do not own the road.  Just because you are riding around in the four wheel vehicle does not give you the right to run people over.  Lets pretend for a second that you HAVE full use of your legs.  Would you go around weaving through people and push them out of the way.  No you would not.  You are on the same walkway as I am, we are equal.

Scooters are EVERYWHERE at Disney
2. If you can, shut that beep OFF! How about you act like a human for a change and not rely on the stupid beep sound to let people know that you are backing up. When I walk backwards I don't yell, "Beep, Beep, Beep," I say a simple excuse me and go about my way. The beeps are for big trucks that can't see everything behind them. Clearly you can turn your head and see that I am standing there.

3. You are not entitled to anything. Call me heartless, but we are waiting in the same line.  You can sit behind me.  A scooter does not give you the right to get at the head of every line.  Some of us are standing.  Wait your turn.

4. Do not offer rides to my kids.  I don't want them getting the idea that this is a way that they should be getting around.  Your legs don't work and my kids legs do (except when I tell them that we need to walk somewhere).

5. Do not abuse the use of the scooter. I am not a fan of scooters as I think that too many people abuse them.  Obviously there are those that completely rely on them for any sort of mobility, BUT we all know that there are those people that use them way more than they should. Being large is NOT an excuse to ride one in my eyes.  Perhaps walking, or trying to, would be better for you.

It's simple really, a four wheel vehicle should not turn you into a complete moron.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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September 24, 2013

At the Movies


My kids love going to the movies.

I remember when Tyler was two and my wife took him to his first movie, it was Barnyard.  Every parent gets a little nervous about taking their kids to the movies for the first time.  Are they going to sit still for that long?  Are they going to be THAT kid and put up a fuss for the entire movie?  Will that make you THAT parent that has to drag a kid kicking and screaming out of a crowded movie theater?

Fortunately for us our kids have not been like that.

We always arm them with the biggest tub of popcorn possible and make sure that we get free refills whenever we can.  Of course I end up eating way more popcorn than I probably should, but we don't go to the movies everyday so I can justify it.  We also throw in a little candy, so any possible meltdown happens AFTER the movie is over.

The movie experience has evolved for us over the years.  It used to be that we would only take the kids to animated features like Toy Story, Cars, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  Now the kids are into movies like Iron Man and Captain America.  It really has made going to the movies that much more enjoyable for ALL of us.  As much as the G rated movies are cute, sometimes you just need that thrilling action of the PG-13 ones. Now that they like going to those, I don't have to go to the movies by myself to get that fix.


Now that the fall movie season is kicking off with the long awaited release of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, to get us all in the mood, my friends at MovieTickets.com are giving away $50 in movie tickets and a DVD of the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  All you have to do is enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit MovieTickets.com for tickets, trailers, and news on upcoming releases.  You can follow MovieTickets.com on Facebook and on Twitter.

*Daddy's in Charge was compensated for this giveaway... not that I had an opinion, but all of them are my own unless my wife tells me otherwise.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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September 13, 2013

A Man in a Van... The Toyota Sienna

I'm not a car guy at all.

I look under the hood and it's all foreign to me.  I know how to put gas in the car, maybe add a little oil, and put air in the tires.  But that's it.  When I go to buy a car there are a few things that I want: a loud sound system, automatic doors, and the ability to carry a lot of stuff. You can only get that with one vehicle; a minivan.

I was obviously never into minivans before I had kids, why would you? I had nothing to haul and no kids to tote around.  I would have been laughed at.  Instead I drove a Dodge Neon. It was fine; it had wheels and got me to where I needed to go.

Then we had kids.

Not wanting to fully jump into the suburban lifestyle just yet, my wife and I bought a Honda Pilot.  I think every couple buys an SUV first then eventually gets smart and buys a minivan, at least that's what we did.  Our second car was a Honda Odyssey.  It was great.  There was an entertainment system for the kids, satellite radio for me and the wife, and the ability to load as much stuff from Home Depot as I wanted.

Our second van, which is our current car, was a Chrysler Town and Country.  We would have liked to stay with the Odyssey, but the price was too much and we got a great deal on the T&C.  I'm not thrilled with my current car.  It seems that they engine light has been on since the day we got it.  Even after numerous trips to the dealer the light still glows.  I don't want to waste my time sitting waiting for a car to get fixed, when it doesn't get fixed.  Needless to say, when our current lease is up we'll be shopping for a new van.

Enter the Toyota Sienna.

I hadn't given the Sienna much thought.  Truth be told when we first looked at vans five and a half years ago I wasn't thrilled with the car.  My sister in law drove them and she loved them.  But she always had a dent in her rear bumper.  Maybe I couldn't get past that, but the Sienna was always a car that was just meh to me. But that has changed.

Photo by Shawn Parkin
I was recently invited by Toyota out to Las Vegas to check out the new and improved Toyota Sienna.  At first glance I liked what I saw.  Clearly this isn't the same vehicle that we test drove almost six years ago and there are no dents to be found in the rear bumper like my sister in laws old car. This car was sharp.


I know what you are thinking, its a van.  Men want bells and whistles and they want speed.  There are places that you can go to find out all the specs of each individual model, I'm not going to get into that here.  All I needed was somewhere to plug in my phone and have easy access to the radio.  Both of which it has.  My only concern was the lack of a USB connection in the second row of seats in the model that we test drove.  And you want speed?  What better place to test that out than Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

Photo by Shawn Parkin
I had never raced cars before outside of Pole Position and most assuredly I had never raced minivans.  This was an experience that was all new.  I am not going to lie, there were times that I thought the van was going to flip over going around some of the turns, but it didn't.  The van is NOT a race car and it's not a car that I am going to race in ever again, but it did handle fantastically.  While I was scared for my life at certain times I didn't die, and what more could you ask for from a minivan?



The car is spacious too.  It's probably the only time that I am ever going to be in a minivan with three other grown men, but we had leg room to spare.  Driving around the streets of Las Vegas you could tell that people weren't looking at us because we were some weird group of dads driving a minivan, they were all gawking at the look of it.  The only thing hotter than Las Vegas in August, is a TOYOTA SIENNA in Las Vegas in August. (I wasn't paid to say that)


I've seen a lot of Siennas driving around my neighborhood, but they are the older models.  There is a look and feel to the latest edition that's hard to describe.  It actually seems like the kind of car that I would get even if I didn't have kids.  But don't tell anyone that I said that.  It's has enough room for me and the family, and I can still go to Home Depot and load up all the supplies that I think I need to build something. I might just build a garage for my new Toyota Sienna.

*I was flown to Las Vegas by Toyota, put up in a fancy hotel and was fed very well.  That being said, all of the above opinions are my own


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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September 11, 2013

No Story is the Best Story

It seems that everyone has a story about where and what they were doing when the attacks of September 11th happened.

I don't have a story.

Had I been working my normal shift at a television news station in New York City, I would have been directly in the chaos. My schedule was changed to 3:00 pm a week earlier to accommodate the primary elections that were taking place that day.

Truth be told, I was asleep when the attacks began.

It seems to me that everyone was directly effected by this tragedy. If you didn't know someone who died, you certainly knew someone who knew someone. I'm not going to pretend that I knew anyone or that I helped out in any way that day. I was in front of the TV, much like the rest of the world.

Things could have been different, I could have been on a live remote in lower Manhattan like my colleagues were, or I could have taken the day off and was visiting the Towers, but I wasn't.

Our station lost someone who worked in the Towers; I didn't know who he was until that day. Only one friend of mine had people she knew intimately who perished when the Towers collapsed.

I could have been at work just like the thousands of people who died that day, but I wasn't. I never made it in.

For a journalist I don't have much of a story to tell about that day. BUT perhaps I'm lucky that I don't.





John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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August 28, 2013

Back to School at Dick's

Back to school soon!
My boys still have another week and a half before school starts.  It starts late here in New Jersey this year due to the Jewish Holidays that fall in the first week of September.  Normally we would head back right after Labor Day and this week I would be scrambling to get all of their supplies.  But I can put that off until next week when all the cool folders have been taken and my boys are left with plain blue and yellow ones.

It's the same thing every year.

One thing I have not put off buying is all of their new sports gear.  Like most kids they outgrow all of their stuff after one season and I am left to head to the sporting goods store to buy all the essentials.  This fall was no different.  Carter is now playing football and of course you want to be safe.  Two things that are mandatory in flag football are a mouth piece and a cup.

His cup runneth over
I never wore a cup when I was a kid playing sports.  I found them too restricting and uncomfortable.  Fortunately I never had an incident in either football or baseball.  Perhaps I was lucky in that regard, but not so lucky when it came to tennis. I should have had a cup then (oh the pain!)

But now that I have boys of my own we need to protect the family lineage, so off to Dick's Sporting Goods we went.  If you have never been to a place like Dick's you are really missing out.  I remember as a kid my first visit there and thinking how it totally put our local Swain Ski and Sports to shame.  The place was huge.  If you couldn't find what you were looking for, the sport probably didn't exist in the first place.

Buying a cup for your kid is a little weird.

You don't want to buy one that is too small and it won't protect them, but you don't want to buy one that is too big and have it be completely uncomfortable. Now I am not going to get into how well endowed my son is, let's just say the cup was not the smallest one there and he is now fully protected.  Thanks to Dick's my son will help carry on the Willey family name!

Of course you can get more than just sporting goods. They have a ton of backpacks (which I have way too many of) clothes, and everyones favorite disappearing item SOCKS.  Just click on the link and buy as many as you want. Be sure to check out the Backpack Selector to find the exact fit for you.

Dick's was kind enough to offer a $25 off coupon code to one of my lucky readers!  Just follow the simple instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*This is a post sponsored by Dick's. I was compensated, all opinions are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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August 17, 2013

Around the World in 17 Days


It's been a crazy past couple of weeks to say the least.

It started with a plane ride TO France and ended with a plane ride FROM Las Vegas. From seeing old world Provence towns to the very modern and glitzy Sin City. Two distinctly different places, but two absolutely amazing experiences. Each I will talk about much more in the future.

Sometimes I really need to slap myself to realize how lucky I am in life. Not only do I get to visit these amazing places but I have an amazing family to share it with. As my kids favorite T-shirts say... Life is Good.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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August 14, 2013

Somewhere Down There



Somewhere down there is a dad shoving a piece of toast in his mouth, kissing his family goodbye, and rushing out the door hoping to make the 7:29 train into the city and his job in finance.

Somewhere down there is mom knee deep in laundry with a newborn crying in the living room after being woken up by the neighbors barking dog.

Somewhere down there is a dad driving his rig across country on his eighth day on the road... kids at home wondering when daddy's coming home.

Somewhere down there is a mom at a sales conference wishing she was anywhere but in the windowless meeting room in yet another generic hotel.

Somewhere down there is a dad plowing a field, hoping for rain... But not too much like last year.

Somewhere down there is a mom pulling a stolen car over having one eye on her police issued revolver and the other on the noticeably drunk man in the drivers seat.

Somewhere down there is a dad driving a bus full of kids on his second of three jobs, needed to support his three kids and his wife who is expecting their fourth in the fall.

Somewhere down there is a mom interviewing the local Sheriff for the six o'clock news about a child predator who is stalking kids at local playground.

Somewhere down there is a dad who just lost his architect job wondering where the money for his mortgage and college tuition for his daughter is going to come from.

Somewhere down there is a mom cutting yet another persons hair, struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over her kids head.

Somewhere down there is a dad being deployed overseas for the next seven months, not sure if he will ever see his family again.

Somewhere down there is a mom working at a bowling alley spraying disinfectant into a pair of shoes not knowing how she will stay awake for her second job later that night.



EVERYWHERE down there are parents doing what they need to do to make sure their kids have the best life possible.

Somewhere up HERE I'm applauding each and every single one of you.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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July 22, 2013

The Royal Baby (Exclusive Photos)

I know that you are all waiting anxiously for pictures of the royal heir.

I have been given exclusive access to the hospital and am here to share with you photos that I have taken of the happy family.

Enjoy!
William and Kate entering the hospital
Our first look at the Royal Baby
Elton John visits
The Spice Girls show their support
David Bekham and Harry Potter stopped in
President Obama cleared his schedule
Finally the Queen interrupted her vacation to visit her Great grandchild


 We hope to be given this kind of exclusive access in the future.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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July 10, 2013

(Le)tting (Go)

For the past six years they have meant everything to my two boys.

Now I don't know what will happen to them.  My kids are growing up and they seem to moving on from something that has really become a part of our family.  

Legos.

They are part of our family
Thousands upon thousands of little plastic bricks and hundreds upon hundreds of minifigures just sitting by waiting for their turn again. But will it come?  The truth is my boys go through phases like I'm sure a lot of kids do and we as parents have fed their obsessions.  Whether it's been Toy Story, Star Wars, or Cars my kids get so wrapped up in it, that that's all they ask for for Christmas or their birthdays.  While some things have come and gone, one thing has remained constant... Legos.

You could always count on the boys to ask for them as gifts and I was always happy to oblige.  But things are starting to change.  Carter didn't ask for any sets for his birthday; he only wanted things that involved basketball or football.  I don't know how much he actually liked playing with them from the start, they sort of frustrated him. But Tyler was different, he could sit for hours and pretend that these guys were his friends.  

In many ways they have been. 

Tyler's birthday is this weekend and he is turning nine(!?) and this is the first birthday since he started to ask for presents that he hasn't asked us for Legos.  I knew that this day was coming, but I don't think I was fully prepared for it to arrive.  I could always count on going to the store and picking up a few sets as presents, but now the Lego aisle is starting to be one that I skip, just like the ones that have all the Star Wars, Toy Story, and Cars toys in them.

His latest obsession is baseball and more specifically the New York Mets.  While I am thrilled that he is able to find new things to love, especially something as fun as baseball is, I just wish he wouldn't move on from things from his past so soon.  

If it is so easy for him to let go, why is it so hard for me?  


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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July 8, 2013

Summer Bath Schedule

Bath time lost its luster long ago.

When the kids were little, the thought of them splashing around always brought a smile to my face and bath time would take hours. Somewhere along the way everything changed. Bath time turned into an annoying splash filled soak fest (most of the time I would end up wetter than the kids.) Showers became the rage and if getting them clean took longer than two minutes you were really pressing your luck.

Fall, spring, and winter are the worst. They have to be all clean to go to school and having to do that EVERY DAY is torture. Don't say you enjoy, because you don't. Admitting it is the easiest part. Then summer roles along and every excuse NOT to give your kids a bath is used.

1. They went in the pool.
2. They went to the water park.
3. They went on a slip and slide.
4. They had a water gun fight.
5. They went in the ocean.
6. They are going in a pool tomorrow.
7. They are going to the water park tomorrow.
8. They are going to the beach tomorrow.

Basically what is boils down to is that the kids either got wet or they are going to get wet tomorrow. If they did get dirty somehow, why would you waste your time giving them a bath if there is the possibility that they might get cleaned off or dirty the next day? We can worry about it when school starts.

Summer... Why can't you last all year long?



John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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June 14, 2013

The Graduate... Starring Legos

It's really hard to believe how big my kids are getting.

No sooner do you blink and six years passes right before your eyes.  My youngest has gone from this little tiny baby, to this smart, funny, energetic big kid.  Yesterday was his Kindergarten graduation. While I am not normally a fan of these types of ceremonies, it really is a time to look back at what your kid has become and where he is going.  He started the year off worried that he wasn't going to be able to read, he knew his ABCs but didn't know the entire order that they went in.  He couldn't add one plus one, and now he is basically multiplying three digit numbers together.  His growth has been amazing. In every way.



Not sure I am quite ready for that yet.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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June 10, 2013

Darth Visits

We are all tough guys sitting in our easy chairs.

Sometimes I find myself yelling at the TV screen at people who I know can't hear me.  It's dumb really, but when you boo a player from your favorite baseball team, you never think about what it would be like if they were in your house... sitting right next to you.  When David Wright strikes out, you can call him a bum, but would you say that if you were in the same room?  Now I might be able to take David Wright, he's not that much bigger than me, but I think my attitude might change if I met him face to face.

What if that person on TV was Darth Vader? Side note... I had my picture taken with Darth Vader once!

Now I know that there is no way in heck I would say or do anything to piss him off if there was even the slightest chance that he would jump through my TV screen and force choke me to death.  He's Darth Vader.  He's probably the most evil character to grace the silver screen.  When he wants something, he gets it.


As you know by now I was chosen by Pringles and Lucasfilms to be an influencer in their The Force For Fun Campaign.  Each week I have shown you a video by one of the finalists in their competition and this weeks is titled "Darth Visits."  Film maker Steven Hauser shows us what happens when an on screen Darth Vader becomes very interested in a can of Pringles that a man is eating at home.  Vader uses his powers to try and wrestle the can away, but the man quips, "Not in my world."  Soon after the doorbell rings and you can pretty much guess who is there.



So now that we have visited the video, it's time to win a cool prize.  This week you can own a very cool Jawa plush doll.  It's not just any doll, it's eyes flash!  Be the envy of all of your Star Wars friends with this toy!

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Thank you all who stopped by and entered these contests over the past few weeks.  It's been a lot of fun!


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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June 3, 2013

The Roommate

We've all had that roommate.

You know the one that was always stealing our food or the one that didn't get you all of your phone messages?  We've all been there.  I had a roommate once, back in the days of dial up internet, that never unplugged his modem from the phone line.  He was also the one that had the answering machine connected, so when the modem was still plugged in, we could never get phone messages.  I was working freelance in television at the time, and while I had a beeper, I relied on the phone for work.  It took me a little to figure out why I wasn't getting any work.

Needless to say we had words one night and his television just so happened to go back into his room, leaving the rest of the house unable to watch Monday Night Raw.  Somehow I was to blame for this issue.

I know what you are thinking; beepers, dial up modems... it all seems so foreign now.


As you know I was chosen as an influencer by Pringles and Lucasfilms to help promote their Force For Fun campaign.  Each week I am showing you a video made by one of the finalists and this weeks video is titled "The Roommate." Filmmaker David Brashear shows us what happens when one possessive roommate finds out that someone is eating his Pringles.  Take a look:



So now that you have seen the video, it's time to win some prizes.  This weeks prize is an R2D2 folding chair.  You can be the envy of your town at any outdoor event with this sweet seat! Thanks for playing along!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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May 28, 2013

Don't Hold Your Breath

For as along as I can remember, I've been trying to imitate the voice of Darth Vader.  If you are a guy, who hasn't.  

Every time that I put on my Darth Vader costume, which isn't that often mind you, there is this little part of you that just HAS to act out the whole character, and that includes his voice and his breathing.  Twice I went as Darth Vader for Halloween and while the costume is great, it just isn't the same if you are breathing right and force choking people.  I don't know if people in the neighborhood thought that I was funny, or if I was just being stupid.  I am sure that there were at least a few guys that looked at me like they knew I just had to take the character to the next level.

As you know I have been chosen as a Pringles and Star Wars influencer in it's Force For Fun Challenge.  Each week I am showcasing one video on behalf of Pringles and Star Wars.


This weeks The Force For Fun video takes what I used to do up a notch.  In this weeks video titled "Don't Hold Your Breath," filmmakers Matt Sklar and Colin Duffy have the main character pretend that he is talking like Darth Vader by speaking into a Pringles can.  I have to say that this is something that I have totally done, without the audience that this guy has of course.  I mean seriously if I were to walk around acting like Darth Vader someone might think I was crazy... oh wait, I've already done that.  One thing I haven't done though is thought about what it would be like to encounter the real Darth Vader acting like Darth Vader.  It might not be pretty.



Now that you've seen the video, you can enter to win this weeks cool giveaway.  Not only do you receive two cans of Pringles, but an AWESOME set of Star Wars headphones.  They would be perfect for you to listen to the Imperial March on your iPod while you are walking around town pretending to be Darth Vader.
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I was compensated by Pringles and Lucasfilm to help promote this competition.  All opinions are my own.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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May 22, 2013

Poison Ivy... Starring Legos

I get poison ivy all the time.

I swear all it takes is for someone to say those two words and I will get a rash all over my body.  You just said it, didn't you?  For the most part I can tolerate the itching.  The problem is that it gets on your hands and well, your hands touch everything.  Your legs, your arms, your face, and well you know the rest.  There is one product that I have found works to relieve the itching for me, but it happens to be the most expensive thing on the market.  That's annoying, but not as annoying as getting poison ivy to begin with.



So I guess from now on either I go outside with a full body suit, or I hire someone to do the work for me.  I've had enough of this stupid plant.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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May 20, 2013

The Delectable Weapon

If you remember last week I told you about my nephew Dylan and his desire to only get Pringles for his birthday.  Well the family came through and he probably has more Pringles than most people in this world.  Most people that is besides me.  The day after Dylan's birthday I received a shipment in the mail from the fine folks at Pringles full of every brand of Pringles on the market.  That's 15 in all.  What a gift that would have been.

Dylan going ALL IN
Dylan hadn't see my Pringles collection until Sunday night.  I think he was amazed to say the least.  He along with my two boys decided to have a taste test to see what ones they liked and what ones they didn't.  Personally I like Sour Cream and Onion and am not a fan of the Dill Pickle.  To each his own I guess, that's why they make 15 varieties right?

So the kids decided to mix and match different Pringles together.  Some were actually quite delicious, like Ranch mixed with the Buffalo Wing variety (think happy hour... hmmm beer flavored.) Others not so much.  His first concoction was called El Diablo.  That had a mixture of JalapeƱo, Barbecue, and every one of the spicy varieties that they made.  Nobody had the courage to eat it.  Then he came up with what you could call "The Delectable Weapon" something he called, ALL IN.

All In was a combination of all the Pringles that were made.  It was a something that would probably make your taste buds explode and something that you wouldn't have your worst enemy eat.  Well, Dylan tried it and needless to say, the Pringles went in, and they promptly came out.  Pleasant I know.


As you know I have been chosen to take part as an influencer in The Force for Fun video contest held by Pringles and Lucas Films

This weeks video that we are taking a look at is called The Delectable Weapon.

Film makers Ryan O'Rourke and John Griese have created a video where one guy wants to go watch a Star Wars marathon with his buddies.  The only think standing in his way is his Darth Vader like boss. With the help of his delectable weapon (Pringles) he tries to convince his boss to let him go home early.

The film makers are both lifelong Star Wars fans (who isn't?) and both lovers of Pringles.  While working on the pitch for the video, O' Rourke went through three cans of Pringles all by himself.  That sounds like something that my nephew Dylan would do.



This weeks giveaway is a talking Ewok.  I know that the Ewoks aren't everyones favorite Star Wars character, but my kids loved them when they were little.  Let's face it, they aren't Jar Jar Binks.  Just follow the instructions below.

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John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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May 14, 2013

A Drawer Full of Teeth

At some point I guess they have to go.

But when?

As it stands right now I have I have nine teeth sitting in my sock drawer in my bedroom.  They will be joined tonight by another one.  Tyler lost another tooth this morning.  Each time it happens now there is less and less fanfare involved.  There were no crazy outbursts like there used to be when he lost a tooth. He simply got a ziploc bag from the kitchen, put the tooth inside and put it under his pillow.

The tooth fairy is coming tonight.

Instead of whisking those teeth off to a far away place, she puts them in my sock drawer.  Then it's up to me to decide what to do with them.  So far I haven't a clue, much like a lot of the stuff I keep from when the kids were little.  Their first hair cuts, their first pair of shoes, even some of my favorite shirts of theirs from when they were babies.

I collect a lot of things.

But why?

Sure all of this stuff might be fun to look back on one day, but I honestly don't know if I will want to.  The thought of being an old man and rummaging through a box of teeth and old shoes might be too much for me to take.  Them getting older is something that I struggle with now, what will it be like in 20 years or even 50 if I'm still alive?

After tonight there will be ten teeth in my drawer.  Since Tyler is almost nine and learning the ways of the world, I don't know how many more teeth the Tooth Fairy will put in there.  One day that phase of our lives will be over.  Then what?

A drawer full of teeth... I might just have to leave them there.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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May 13, 2013

Sounds Like a Party

I had no idea that Pringles were the go to gift for an eleven year old boy.

These are the Pringles he was hoping for
But that was the case for my nephew Dylan who last week celebrated his birthday and at the top of his list were everyone's favorite potato chips in a can.  I myself have been a huge Pringles fan my entire life.  I know that there are better things in the world to eat for a snack, but seriously I'm willing to take the chance that they are not going to kill me or make me morbidly obese. Face it, Pringles are great.

So I went out and bought him as many different cans of Pringles as I could find.  Sadly I could only come up with five at my local Walgreens.  It was going to have to do.

Apparently five cans was enough though, as he said something along the lines of it being the best present ever! (He also got a bunch more cans from other family member's so he should be set until he turns twelve.)

Wouldn't you know it that last week I was chosen to to be a Force For Fun influencer by Pringles to help promote their latest campaign involving Star Wars.  After a nationwide search for the best fan made Star Wars related Pringles ad, it is now down to the top seven.  Pringles has asked me to share these videos with you, and since it's PRINGLES and STAR WARS, who was I to say no?  In fact, now that I think about Pringles probably used some Jedi mind tricks to get me to do it.


For the next few weeks I will be sharing these videos with you and give you the opportunity to win some cool prizes.  More on that later.

This weeks video is titled "Sounds Like a Party." The two film makers Jared Hedges and Dave Cain literally grew up on Star Wars.  Hedges used to watch Return of the Jedi EVERY morning as a kid, while Cain used to make Star Wars videos where he would dress his sister as a stormtrooper.  This contest was a natural fit for them.

The idea behind their commercial is that three friends discover that eating Pringles has given them the magic ability to make actual Star Wars sounds.  They jump at the chance to recreate some of the most memorable Star Wars scenes with homemade props, costumes, and of course Pringles.

Actual movie scene on the left, recreated in the ad on the right

I have had the opportunity to watch all these videos and I have to say that they are really clever.  Given the chance to put Star Wars and Pringles together, I don't know what I would have come up with.  Chances are, probably not what Hedges and Cain were able to do:



So now it's your turn.  For the next five weeks I will be giving away prizes to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do in return is follow along and participate in the challenges outlined in the giveaway form below.  May the force be with you.

Sound like a party?

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Disclaimer:  Daddy's in Charge was compensated by Pringles to write about this contest.  His opinions about Pringles are all his own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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April 24, 2013

The Worst Pain... Starring Legos

It seems that not a day goes by that I don't see some joke about how much it hurts to step on a Lego.  Facebook is filled with pictures that people made about how the worst pain in the world is stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night.  It might have been cute the first time I saw one of those jokes, but after the 17,896th time I have grown tired of it.  I might be the only person that just doesn't seem to find that sick kind of humor very funny.  Then again, I may be looking at things in a different way.




Why don't we all STOP making these dumb jokes and just clean up our Legos.  It will be much safer for everyone.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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April 19, 2013

The Brown Spots in My Yard

I can hear the landscapers from sun up to sun down in my neighborhood.  Now that spring has sprung everyone's yard is starting green up.  Everyone's that is but mine.

My yard has brown spots everywhere.

When we first moved into our house the yard was nice and green.  I took pride in knowing that I had the nicest crappy lawn in the neighborhood.  There were a few weeds here and there, but a little bit of fertilizer and weed killer through the years took care of that.  I've never had a landscaper mow my yard, as that is something that is soothing to me.  Perhaps it would look better if someone else did it, but at $25 a pop I would look at all the spots that they missed and just be annoyed.

So it's not as nice as the other immaculate lawns in my neighborhood, but I have learned to accept it. 

The brown spots in my yard aren't caused by a lack of care.  In fact there is a lot of care involved. That is where my boys like to play.  They run back and forth playing football, baseball, soccer, and whatever else comes into their minds.  We've hosted the Super Bowl, the World Series, and even the World Cup there.  It's not the ideal venue, but it works when you are a kid.

While it may not look as nice as some of the other yards around, I still take a lot of pride in my yard for other reasons.




John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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April 4, 2013

How Disney Ruined Disney

"When I see things I don't like, I start thinking why do they have to be like this, and how can I improve them?" --Walt Disney
I don't know what there wasn't to like.  It was one of our favorite parts of Disney World and now it's gone.  If you are anything like our family, Toontown was a destination that we never missed.  Sadly we will never get that chance again.

Gone are the days of touring Mickey's house or seeing Minnie in her backyard. Even as a 39 year old man there was a sense of excitement every time I walked through the doors or their respective houses.  I always admired the way that Mickey decorated his home and could never figure out why his kitchen was never completed.  We would always find new Hidden Mickeys and take a photo with his Mickey shaped pumpkins.


After a stop in his house the wait to get a picture with him in the judges tent was never more than 15 minutes.  These are the trips that I will remember.


Then the word progress reared its ugly head.

Don't get me wrong the New Fantasyland will be an amazing place when it is finally completed.  The land of Belle and Ariel is going to be one of the top destinations for years to come, much like Toontown was in the past.  What I don't understand is why with this new expansion Toontown had to be eliminated.  

I know that Dumbo is one of these classic rides that everyone says you HAVE to go on. Some guidebooks even say that you should go there first upon entering the park.  I have never been on it, but I certainly understand the appeal.  Obviously with this new expansion something had to move and of course it was Dumbo.  It is now the feature of the new Storybook Circus which has replaced Toontown. Double the size of its former self, Dumbo anchors the new section of the park along with the highly overrated Goofy Roller Coaster.


I was anxious to see the new expansion- Fantasyland is not quite done- and was excited to see the improvements that had been made.  Much to my surprise the Storybook Circus area is a classic failure in my eyes.  Crowds will inevitably flock to the Dumbo ride and wait in line for over an hour for the 30 second "thrill" that is Goofy's Barnstormer (the line the day we went was well over 90 minutes.)  What else is there? A couple of big tops where you can buy souvenirs and meet a couple of the characters.

THAT'S IT.

Gone is Pete's garage. Gone is the Donald Duck boat. Gone is the little play area where the kids can run around, gone is Minnie's house, gone is Mickey's house, and most importantly gone is lifetime of memories for my two boys.



Maybe new memories will be made.  But I kind of like the old ones.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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March 20, 2013

Basketball is His Favorite Sport

Carter gets obsessed with a lot of things.

At first it was Star Wars, then Toy Story, then Cars, the Star Wars again, then Legos, then Pokemon, and now it's sports.  Most recently it's been basketball because that is what is readily available on TV.  Before basketball it was football where somehow he became a huge New Orleans Saints fan.  I blame video games for that.

Basketball is all he ever talks about nowadays.  Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony  are his favorite players, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are his favorite team.  Much like his dad, who was a huge Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls fan, Carter is very much a front runner.  When you are six you never want to see your team lose so naturally you pick teams that always win.  That is why there are so many Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys fans my age, because when I was a kid they were always the two best teams.  We don't realize it, but unless we live in an area that has pro sports teams, we always go for the winners.  So all of you lifelong Yankee, Steelers, Cowboys, Lakers, Celtics fans... you are nothing but a lifelong bandwagoner.

From sun up to sundown, Carter has basketball on the brain.

His birthday is next week and all that he wants is a basketball hoop and a bunch of jerseys, most notably the players mentioned before.  If he isn't checking scores on ESPN, he is playing basketball on the Xbox.  If he isn't playing on the Xbox, he is up in his room playing basketball on his little toy hoop that has been hanging up since before he was born.  And that is where you can see things like this:




For a six year old he has some crazy good skills.  Of course he is good at any sport that he plays right now.  It's something that I saw in him from an early age before he could even walk.

Right now he says that he has no interest in baseball, but I don't buy it.  I never saw this obsession with basketball coming but I am on the lookout to see what's next.


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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March 12, 2013

End of the Little Days

Parenting is a hard job.

Nobody said that it wasn't, but there is nothing that can prepare you for the wave of emotions that you feel at any given moment.  Kids really do keep you on your toes as you just never know what they are going to hit with you with next.  Such was the case this morning.

My oldest Tyler had the ability to grow up slowly.  He liked all the usual little kid things: Cars, Toy Story, Nemo, Mickey Mouse, and of course Legos.  There was a natural progression that I am sure most first kids go through, although he was into Star Wars before most of his friends.  He has grown out most of these things, but still loves to play with Legos.  He has an iPod now and spends a lot of his time texting and Facetiming.  Basically he is growing up into BIG kid.

Which brings me to Carter.

He doesn't wear them on his head all the time
As the younger of the two he has spent most of his childhood trying to keep up with his older brother.  That means what ever Tyler was into, Carter was as well.  Before Carter could even say any letters or numbers he could tell you who every Star Wars character was.  He never really got into shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or the Doodlebops; it's almost as if he skipped a few years and graduated right to shows like Phineas and Ferb and The Clone Wars.  While little, I almost feel like he's never been a little kid.

Currently Carter is obsessed with sports, and as a dad while that is great, part of me wishes it didn't happen so early.  He'll be six next month, but sometimes I feel like he is going on 16.  He no longer plays with toys and loves watching sports on TV.  Legos are out; basketball, football, and soccer are his thing now.  He just told me the other day that he doesn't like Mickey Mouse and his character shirts were too small on him (even though they aren't.)

But I always had something to hold onto, until today.

This was one of those moments that kicks you in the gut and tells you that your kids are growing up despite your best efforts to not let them.  Out of the blue Carter decided that he didn't want to wear his little boy underwear anymore.  I was blindsided to say the least.  For the past three years while I could see him getting bigger and moving onto to older kid things, I could always count on one thing, his little Toy Story underwear.  It's almost like they were the only thing that was holding him back from being a big kid.  While he got bigger and bigger I could put those little tiny underwear on him and keep him the little kid that he should be.

Sadly that will no longer be the case.  My little guy is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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