Momania on vacation; Dad Days of Summer begin!

Starting Monday, I will be taking about a month off to spend time with my kids and my family.

But never fear. We won’t leave you without controversial topics to discuss and friends to disagree with.

I am thrilled to announce that for the first time in almost six years, a DAD will take the helm and keep you amused and informed through the Dad Days of Summer!

Andy, Lori and Ty Johnston. Andy will be hosting the Momania blog for about a month this summer. He's a freelance sports writer and a stay-at-home dad!

Andy, Lori and Ty Johnston. Andy will be hosting the Momania blog for about a month this summer. He's a freelance sports writer and a stay-at-home dad!

Andy Johnston is a professional sports writer and father to a fantastic 5-year-old son named Ty, who will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Andy and his wife Lori have been married for 13 years and live outside of Athens.

Andy has been covering sports for 23 years. A few years back, he quit his dream job of sports editor for The Athens Banner-Herald to become a stay-at-home dad and freelance sports writer.

He wanted the flexibility to play Legos with his son in the morning and then head over to cover the Bulldogs football practice in the afternoon. He has awkwardly attended playgroup, done the drop off and cleaned the spit up. He is truly a modern dad sharing childcare, housework and making ends meet.

Andy regularly covers sports from around the state for the AJC and The Associated Press, as well as other publications.

Andy is a Georgia boy. He grew up in near Kennesaw and attended North Cobb High School, Young Harris College and the University of Georgia .

His wife Lori is a freelance writer extraordinaire and my former college roommate and bridesmaid!

I am so excited for Andy to bring a dad’s point of view to the blog and give some new perspective through a hot summer. He is a perfect mix of professional journalist and father who is on the front lines of daily parenting with his hands sticky from glue, his heart warmed with love and his body exhausted from doing it all.

Please join me in welcoming Andy. If you have topics you would like to see Andy address, you can leave your ideas below or e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

- By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso for the Momania blog

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62 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
5:24 am

Welcome Andy!

This can be a tough crowd but some of us are loyal and will look forward to bantering with you on any topic. It will be interesting to see what you give us to fuss about :) I applaud ANY Dad who stays home with the kids. Mine swapped out with me for years, while we both worked, and he is very close to both of our kids.

TWG…have fun! To me, it is bold to give someone your space and “client base” for a month!
We will miss you. I hope you check in once in a while to let us know what you are up to!
Don’t forget your sunscreen :).

djm_NC

June 24th, 2011
6:05 am

yay for you theresa!! now!! go have fun!! try not to worry about things so much!! enjoy your great time off….everything will be fine!! go with the flow and roll with the changes!! i hope to see you back all relaxed and unworried!!

welcome to andy! great to see a dad take such a great role in his kid’s life!! cant wait to see some of the topics a man comes up with…i think it will be great to have a mans viewpoint on raising kids without going crazy.

Ringo

June 24th, 2011
8:20 am

Good, someone new who perhaps doesn’t cut-paste articles and then goes to the pool with her kids monitoring the blog via her phone. The topics lately have been lame, tired and worn out with very little thought and creativity.

JJ

June 24th, 2011
8:28 am

Welcome Andy – I can’t wait to see what you bring to our little party…..

Theresa – HAVE A GREAT TIME!!!!! Make memories for those kids. Enjoy. Relax. Take this time for you and your kids. Enjoy your extended family. Relax, go with the flow. You don’t have to be in control every moment. Remember, you are on V A C A T I O N!! Let the kids play till the cows come home. Let them stay up until 1:00 in the morning, and sleep till noon, if they want. They are on vacation too.

The word “Vacation” is latin for “Relax the rules a little”….LOL

Becky

June 24th, 2011
8:32 am

Welcome Andy.. Can’t wait to have you join our family..Hope that you will enjoy your “temp” job here..

Theresa..Relax an enjoy your time..Laze around and do nothing but read a book..Eat foods that you normally don’t..Let the kids have some freedom..Don’t worry about us, we’ll play nice..Ok, we’ll try to play nice..

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
8:41 am

@ Becky…..play nice?

Techmom

June 24th, 2011
9:08 am

She said “TRY”

Does this mean we don’t have a regular Friday topic?

DB

June 24th, 2011
9:20 am

(Gleefully rubbing hands together) Ooooh, this should be fun!

Have fun on your summer travels, T!

JJ

June 24th, 2011
9:30 am

@DB – Gleefully rubbing hands together – ROTFLMAO!!!!!

shaggy

June 24th, 2011
9:34 am

This should be interesting.

Andy, your first official act should be to ban Ringo’s IP addy, because he is boring and already a pain.

shaggy

June 24th, 2011
9:37 am

Oh, Andy…I forgot.

GO DAWGS! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
9:41 am

JJ…any update on the robbery? DB and I met for lunch there on W. Crazy!

Techmom…TWG is probably packing and that will be very time consuming :)
In fairness, I cannot imagine packing for 3 weeks with 3 kids or even flying with 3 kids
alone, which I am assuming she is doing. A road trip with 3 kids ( alone) would be worse to me.

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
9:42 am

JJ…ooops we did not meet AT the bank…I forgot NEAR…sorry :0

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
9:46 am

We drove across the country Sunday to late Tuesday night. We took the kids to White Sands in New Mexico, Roswell in New Mexico (UFO Museum) and then headed on to Dallas to show the kids Dealey Plaza. We had the dog with us this time crossing the country which made for a more interesting trip. Michael drove from Dallas to Atlanta in one day but we got in very, very late Tuesday night/morning. The kids are excellent travelers — no complaints and just really enjoyed all we saw. We took a different route than last time.They sledded on the dunes of White Sands. And Rose poo-pooed all the Roswell alien stuff. My mother does not have the internet at home. My lovely neighbor said we could use his password to jump on his however, he lives across the street and catty corner so it drops constantly. bumming me out. I am thrilled to have time off. (I have had time off with a person filling in in two years — I always just write ahead or work from where ever I am.) Andy will do a great job I know!!

Techmom

June 24th, 2011
10:02 am

Oh didn’t realize you had already left home T. Hope you and the kiddos have a great time!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
10:04 am

Techmom — I wanted Michael back in the house before I announced I was leaving my house so I didn’t get robbed. He flew back on Thursdsay and is back at work and enjoying his “freedom”.

Sydney

June 24th, 2011
10:08 am

@MJG: We know you had lunch with DB. How many times are you going to tell us about it? You’re like the dorky kid trying to convince everyone they have friends.

Techmom

June 24th, 2011
10:20 am

T, do people know where you live exactly? I’ve always figured if someone wants in my house bad enough, they’ll find a way, whether I’m on vacation or not. Of course having a couple of big dogs in the house has convinced me that no one will ever break into my house.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
10:28 am

Techmom — I had threats before so I’m going to try not to announce it on the internet. I usually don’t even post on Facebook when I’m gone.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
10:30 am

Techmom — everyone in our new community says Kiddos — I had theory that it was a western thing but then you just used it — do you think it’s used all over the country??? I hadn’t really heard it before moving

Kat

June 24th, 2011
10:30 am

@TWG: Smart lady! I had to explain to the children that they couldn’t talk about going to Disney to every person they met. Better to tell people what you DID than tell people that you would be going. I didn’t want to get robbed either!

Have a great and well-deserved vacation!

Kat

June 24th, 2011
10:30 am

Welcome Andy!

JJ

June 24th, 2011
10:31 am

@Techmom – our doors are usually always unlocked, and I too have big dogs, and they have mean barks….most burglars are scardy cats anyway, so a couple of dogs barking will scare them off. Especially my lab. Her bark is LOUD and vicious.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
10:52 am

Kat — I did break my own rule and posted to Facebook while we were crossing via my phone. the photos and the experiences were just too neat. I do plan to share on the blog as well. We went through heavy smoke from the AZ forest fires, went through border patrol stops (like normal anytime traveling close to Mexico border), the land between Roswell NM and Dallas was just amazing. There is nothing there but cows and small oil wells. and no internet connection either. it was amazing seeing the landscape change from desert back to “Ga. trees” as lilina calls them. She totally understands the difference in the environments. It was an amazing road trip.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
10:54 am

@TWG….I love the way you described michael’s freedom in quotes….like it is really just pretend and doesn’t exist! That’s classic.

Welcome aboard Andy, “He is truly a modern dad sharing childcare, housework and making ends meet.”

You are obviously a GOD to theresa……pretty impressive because on this blog a man with those qualities only exists in the land of other mythical figures like Unicorns, Leprechauns, and Tinker Bell. Honestly I think she’s in love with you and I’m not quite sure you really exist and TWG isn’t just ghost writing for you in a subversive attempt to start a revolution where men finally understand that being a Mom is the most Jesus like sacrifice the world has known since….well….Jesus.

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
10:55 am

@ sydney….I look dorky most of the time, so this is nothing new. When JJ mentioned it yesterday, I looked it up to see where it was and WOW…I passed that bank on the way to lunch and it surprised me! I was in an adjacent bank right before lunch…scary!
It looks like the same guy robbed a Wells Fargo bank in Snellville just a while back.
What is up with that?

BTW…I do have friends and make new ones most weeks.

TWG…I thought Roswell was kinda fun and I am NOT into SCI FI…the folks there were really friendly and I met with teachers at a school that had a mini farm with animals too. It was wonderful.
I think it it GREAT that you are able to see so much of the country with your kids. Something many kids do not get to do!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
10:56 am

“the photos and the experiences were just too neat”

What did Betty White say on SNL about facebook….”when I was young, having to look at people’s vacation pictures was a punishment!”

Techmom

June 24th, 2011
11:00 am

T – I grew up in Las Vegas. Moved to the south when I was 13 but I guess some things just stick with you!

JJ – they are the best alarm systems. It’s been nice to have neighbors who we share dog-duty with so they can be at home even when we aren’t (plus it saves a ton of money on boarding expenses). We just got back from an 8-day mission trip to Nicaragua and I didn’t think about our house once.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
11:03 am

” I did break my own rule”…so for all your worry about someone breaking into your house, and I think justifiably so since you’ve actually had threats…..you figure that the needs of the many to see what’s happening in your life, outweigh the needs of the few (your family) to keep your home safe. Interesting.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
11:08 am

Tiger is grumpy today. Tiger I put “freedom” in quotes for two reason — A. that’s what you were describing yesterday and B. I think he has freedom all the time not just when we are gone. Tiger I left you a note on yesterday’s blog late last night.

shaggy

June 24th, 2011
11:10 am

Tiger,

I am curious. Your recent posts have amounted to “preaching to Theresa”.
You didn’t used to post that way. Is the Tiger having some home issues that are making him vent???????

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
11:11 am

I am grumpy today!!! ;-)

In that spirit I responded to your message to me…

Even though I’m grumpy..it’s all in good fun!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
11:23 am

you know shaggy…..I see what you’re saying and I actually agree with you.

I think it boils down to this….I don’t get the sense that TWG appreciates all the good in her life and instead focuses on all there is to worry about (both real and perceived), and all the sacrifices she is making for her family (both real and perceived) and when those views are intertwined to the topic of her blog, I just can’t help myself but to pounce on them!!! I’m not the only one who sees this though…a pretty fair percentage of responses to todays topic is suggesting to TWG to just RELAX and ENJOY her vacation….I don’t think those comments are made because she has a reputation for smelling the roses.

I’ll agree that it is petty and immature and unnecessary…..but in my defense, I try (emphasis on TRY) to convey my thoughts in a way that is conducive to a chuckle or two.

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
11:26 am

Tiger…how could you be grumpy when you have such a beautiful view of the mountains…I presume.
We have relatives out your way and who posted some GORGEOUS pictures on Facebook. Makes me want to hop a plane NOW!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
11:53 am

I just thought I posted this response..but it didn’t show up so here goes it again…

I think you raise a fair and valid point shaggy….I agree with you that my posts have taken a different angle.

I think it boils down to this…I don’t think lately that TWG really appreciates all the good in her life and when that is intertwined in some way with the topic of the blog, I can’t help myself but to jump on it. She spends so much time worrying about things (both real and perceived) and dwelling on the sacrifices she makes for her family (both real and perceived) that she appears to lose track of all the good in her life. I don’t think that i’m the only one who sees that. A good percentage of the responses to this post are telling her to RELAX and ENJOY her vacation. That isn’t because of her reputation for smelling the roses!

“Is the Tiger having some home issues that are making him vent???????”

funny you should ask that…my wife recently got hired on with a school district and has summer off with my kid. As I leave for work, she’s in her jammies having some coffee. She has the biggest smile on her face and tells me all the time what a really good gig she has. You know what…I appreciate that she appreciates that. And it doesn’t take a bunch of orphans in Haiti or Japan to make her appreciate her life…I guess you’re right shaggy!

@MJG…my mood NEVER gets in the way of realizing and appreciating that I live in one of the top 2 coolest states to live! Don’t worry, I never lose sight of that!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
11:55 am

wow….i think I’ve been banned. two postings…both lost.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

you haven’t been barred – i will look for them — I just walked away to do other things

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
12:17 pm

@ TWG….thanks! I will apologize for my rant….even though I think I sometimes (SOMETIMES) make a valid point. ;-) Like a tell my friends…if I didn’t like you…I wouldn’t bust your chops!

by the way…I thought you were on vacation? You’re posting today more than when you’re not on vacation.

shaggy

June 24th, 2011
12:30 pm

Tiger,

Take MJG’s advice and take in that beautiful scenery that must slap you in the face on a daily basis. I have a love of those mountains that goes unfulfilled this year, and quite frankly, it pi$$es me off that I can’t play there this year. My “fix” is The Teton Range. I miss practically everything about that place.

Ringo

June 24th, 2011
12:37 pm

Lori in the picture is good looking!

Andy has a big head and a large jaw…. really large jaw.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
12:41 pm

shaggy,

Like I said…I take it in…all the time. And that’s the rub…I’m a happy, happy person who loves life. Ironically, the only thing that really gets under my skin is seeing other people with really good lives (like TWG) who let all the other stuff get in the way of seeing that too.

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
12:44 pm

@ Tiger…what is the other coolest state….just curious. I do love CO and will be there in the fall!
It is pretty no matter what the season though.

shaggy…I am about to faint that you would tell anyone to take my advice….hugs to you today :)

Ringo…if you want to post your picture, we can let you know what we think of you…haha….mine is not too wonderful and my hubby has a large jaw too.

JJ

June 24th, 2011
12:50 pm

I’ll be in Colorado next summer for my high school reunion!!!! I can’t wait. I haven’t been there since 1997……

JJ

June 24th, 2011
12:53 pm

Tiger – one of my male co-workers just quit his job of 20 years, to stay home with his kids (5 & 10). His wife runs a pet boutique and is making enough money to support the family. But, they lost their health insurance, that was provided 100% by our company for the entire family…..

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 24th, 2011
1:10 pm

@MJG….IMHO…in a vacuum..where money and raising kids etc….based purely upon the ability to relax, take in the view, enjoy all the environment has to offer….I’d a house on the beach in Hawaii over a cabin in the mountains of CO.

JJ…..you know what they say about colorado….people come for the winters…but stay for the summers! That will be a nice reprieve from the GA heat!!!

Jeff

June 24th, 2011
1:39 pm

A former neighbor of mine was a stay at home dad. He tried taking their son to the local park to play with the other kids as was advertised in the neighborhood newsletter. He was asked not to come back because, being a man, he was told it upset the balance of the group. Very sad that some people are like that! I considered being a stay at home dad but the ex didn’t like the idea.

Wayne

June 24th, 2011
2:14 pm

My wife has asked me to go to various birthday parties and functions with the boys and I cringe whenever she asks. Most often, I’m the only male adult there. Sure, I kinda know most of the women – to say hi. I go, but I’m not excited about it just for that reason.

No one has asked me to leave, thank goodness.

@Jeff: if someone asked me to leave a local park because I upset the balance of things – well, that might get my dander up. Why are we there? So the -kids- can play, not the adults. As my 4 (almost 5) year old would say “not fair”.

MomsRule

June 24th, 2011
2:16 pm

@Jeff – you’ve got to be kidding. That is just wrong! “upset the balance”…ridiculous!

@Andy – welcome! I look forward to your perspective and the topics you will bring to the party. :)

@TWG – have a wonderful vacation!

Becky

June 24th, 2011
2:18 pm

My husband is at home with our two for the summer..They are loving it as much as he is..I think anyone that has the option to be a stay at home parent, should take advantage of it..I have a neice in TX. that just had her second child (March) and she (they) decided that she would stay at home..I would think that it is one of the most rewarding jobs that a person will ever have..

motherjanegoose

June 24th, 2011
3:08 pm

Tiger…I loved Hawaii. I have been to Honolulu once and Maui twice. The scenery is incredible but I would not move there. Loved Alaska too and ditto on the relocation. Colorado would certainly be a possibility but it is not on our radar now. I also think Idaho is kind of neat and Oregon.

Jeff…that is ridiculous. My husband spent a lot of time with our kids at the parks and that was over a dozen years ago. I applaud Dads who do more than just bring home the bacon…while that is important too…just as much as Moms bringing home the bacon.

We just got back from the pool where two young Mamas were sunbathing at the far end of the pool. One other family was there, on the opposite side. While in the pool, I flipped out of my tube and got all wet. A little boy, whom we found out was four , laughed at me and we laughed back. He paddled over to my float and hung on while I spun him around and stuff. My daughter and I got a kick out of him. We did not know him. His Mom was not even paying a lick of attention to him and had not brought him any toys to the pool. They did have cigarettes.

See, I continue to be dorky but I do love kids. Not all parents do. Those Mamas looked 100% better in a swim suit than I ever will. Perhaps that is what mattered :).