Fantastic Four

The kids are about to celebrate their four-month birthdays. And by “celebrate,” I mean that they’ll lay on a blanket and we’ll take pictures of them wearing cheesy costumes and I’ll use a terrible pun.

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I’m not sure where all the time has gone. On one hand, it feels like we were just waiting anxiously in the hospital delivery room a few heartbeats ago. On the other, I can’t remember life without kids and so it seems like they have been hanging around forever.

So here are some random thoughts about fatherhood and babies after four months of priceless moments, a thousand dirty diapers, and a lot of sleepless nights:

-Baby smiles and laughs are the greatest thing I’ve ever watched. “Jurassic Park” is a close second.

-My wardrobe is ridiculous and I’m meticulous with organizing my clothes and making sure that everything is neat and ironed before I leave the house. Well, I used to be like that. On Monday, I picked my clothes off the floor and rocked red pants to work that had spit-up on them, because, well, babies.

-The kids have regressed with their sleep during the past few weeks. It’s humorous in a sad and “wow, is it really 3:30am?!?!” kind of way when you long for five hours of sleep.

-I love watching soccer players celebrate goals at the World Cup. I do similar airplane moves and fist pumps when I successfully lay a baby down in a crib without waking him or her up.

-There are a lot of movies out that I’d like to go see. I’ll catch them on Netflix in six months.

-It’s amazing how babies can shift the important question of “what do I want to do with my life” to “what should I do with my life so I can help support these kids” so quickly. .

-I look at baby photos and videos on my phone multiple times a day when I’m at work. I should print a bunch out and put them around my office, but that task hasn’t passed “work,” “sleep,” or “exercise occasionally” on the to-do list yet.

-Trying to figure out day care is the toughest decision we’ve ever had to make during our relationship. First, deciding whether we’ll both go back to work is a really tough choice. We both want to work and interact with human beings who can form sentences, but we also want to stay at home and hang out with the kids all day. Second, deciding who will watch your kids, your perfect, beautiful, and adorable kids, all day when you’re at work is a sad, challenging, and scary decision to make.

-The protective papa bear in me has already come out a few times. I called to report an 18-wheeler that recklessly cut us off a few weeks ago. I also confronted a guy, politely, in the Metro parking lot after he blew by a stopped school bus with kids walking around so he could make a green light. I was worried he would go crazy and try to fight me or something, but I guess my teal pants scared him off.

-Travelling with kids. OMG. Someone invent a teleport ASAP.

-We had to listen to Katy Perry’s “Roar” 10 straight times when driving to the lake house last weekend. Although I appreciate that it always calms down Madison, instantly, I’ve listened to that song way too many times.

-The inventor of baby swings is our savior (other than Jesus and Tony Bennett, UVA’s basketball coach, not the singer). Thank you.

-Kids grow up too fast. I miss the “old” days when they were “small” and I wish I could relive those moments over and over again. Not because those days were better, but those first minutes, moments, and days were so intense, so scary, and so beautiful.

-I miss my autonomy. I miss sitting on the couch and staying there as long as I wanted. I miss eating dinner when the food is hot instead of an hour after it is cooked due to baby shenanigans. However, I will gladly give up all of those things for these kids.

-Hearing a baby stirring or crying on the monitor often creates an interesting test for a relationship. Neither of you wants to get off the couch or bed, but someone has to do it. Thus, you wait 5-10 seconds, sometimes pretending to be asleep, hoping the other leads the charge…

-Having these kids has given me such a different perspective with my faith. I am constantly mesmerized by His love for humanity and His endless grace.

-Most importantly, moms are heroes. So are people who want to babysit.

It Takes Two

Two months ago, my life changed a lot.

I ate an epic club sandwich. It was perfect.

I also met our newborn son and daughter that day.

First Day

Two months and approximately 1,200 diapers later, life looks a lot different now:

My wife and I haven’t left the house together, without children, for 60+ days.

That probably won’t happen in the near future. We’re still firmly in the paranoid parent stage.

I desperately want to go see the new “Captain America,” “300,” and “Transformers” movies. I will watch them on Netflix in six months.

We have started using online grocery shopping. Thank you, internet.

We had dinner with some friends on Friday night. I was able to engage in focused conversation 25% of the time. The rest of the night was spent bouncing, swaying, and trying to hold a pacifier in a kid’s mouth while having a conversation.

On that note, I have a love-hate relationship with pacifiers. Just like a midnight run to Taco Bell, things are great at first, but you may eventually regret that decision. That pacifier will fall out at some point and there is a good chance that baby will scream.

I’ve got nothing but love for baby swings. God bless the man or woman who invented those.

My wife is a legend.

I want to give out millions of high fives on those occasions when I successfully transition a sleeping baby from my arms to the crib. However, I give out zero high fives on those occasions due to the risk of waking the baby.

However, those times when you lay a baby down and you start to hear some grunts, whimpers, cries, or movement, those are the moments that strengthen your prayer life.

I’ve been to thirty countries and three Britney Spears’ concerts, but there is nothing greater than hanging at home with the family.

The dirty laundry never ends. The piles of clean clothes on the floor never go away.

I’m disappointed when a diaper has pee, but no poop. The poop will likely happen within five minutes of putting on the new diaper.

I enjoy baby clothes a lot.

Matching

Going to work in the morning, especially on Mondays, is so rough. I do everything to stall for time. I’ve done laundry and paid bills at 8:00am on some recent workdays.

We hit a dark spot a few weeks ago where we felt like we were going crazy. Thankfully, that has passed. However, we sometimes feel like prisoners to two hungry babies. At least our captors are really cute.

The idea of taking our kids to day care in a few months is terrifying and sad. Not just because it will cost an insane amount of money, but because we’re paranoid parents who will miss them desperately. I’m sure it will become easier as they get older, bigger, and stronger, but right now that thought is depressing.

I think way too much about germs these days.

I have listened to Katy Perry’s “Roar” 100+ times. This week.

These kids are growing up too fast. We see them as big kids already. I’m sure that’s funny to the rest of the world who sees them as tiny babies.

There are a million different baby books, videos, and websites out there that will tell you a million different ways to raise your baby. Those suggestions are infinitely helpful, but there is no right way to do anything. Just do what you have to do and don’t judge others who do things differently.

I’ve realized I use my phone way too much. I think a lot of us do. That should stop. We all deserve better.

Our kids may not like us when they are teenagers.

One Month

 

Two Months

Taking a shower at home is now a luxury. Naps too.

Seeing these kids smile, even if gas induced, is the best thing ever.

Other than naps.

A Wonderful Gift

Being a parent is a priceless and wonderful gift.

It is also really tough.

My eyes have been bloodshot for the past seven weeks.

Getting to work in the morning is a struggle.

We often finish making dinner and then have to wait an hour or more to eat it because the babies keep doing stuff.

I didn’t shower for three days last week.  Sorry, world.

In light of those challenges, it is amazing to have so many wonderful friends and family to help us out.

Especially Katy Perry.

Our daughter has loved Katy Perry’s “Roar” since the first day of her life.  When she is crying and throwing a fit, that glorious song calms her down instantly.  Amazingly, the science books say the kids’ hearing was developing at the exact time I was listening to “Roar” 800 times a day while practicing for a “rap” video to that Katy Perry jam.  Now, that song has become a glorious miracle for our family.

Here’s proof:

Meanwhile, Austin is too busy eating and pooping to care about music.

Lost and Found

In case you didn’t notice the creepy bunny at the mall or the absurd amount of yellow candy at CVS, Easter is almost here. I’m really excited about Easter this year because we’ll actually be able to go to church. It’s been five years since we’ve been to an Easter service because we were either gallivanting through Thailand or Hungary or visiting my brother in jail. I’m also really excited about Easter because I have a new pair of teal and orange shoes I want to wear.

Oh, and because I have a new appreciation for the story of forgiveness that is central to the message of Easter.

Like every human being ever, I am my own worst critic. I magnify my mistakes and replay the memories of my stupid decisions over and over again like they were Katy Perry songs on my iPhone. I’ve struggled with a lot of the same issues for so many years. It’s tiring. It’s frustrating. I feel defeated, I feel like a loser, I feel condemned. Thus, if I feel that way, then God, OMG, must really feel the same. It has to be a horrible movie for Him to watch me screw up again and again (but it is still a better movie than Cloud Atlas; that was a waste of three hours this week). I feel like the weight of my mistakes is so heavy and my shame so great that I am unworthy of God’s grace.

And then Luke 15 slaps me all up in the head. In this chapter, Jesus tells three stories:

The first is about a sheep that got lost from the herd. Jesus emphasizes that a single sheep is so valuable to the shepherd that he will leave all the other sheep to find the dumb one that went astray. After he finds it, the shepherd invites all his friends over to celebrate the return of his lost sheep. I’ve been to a few awkward parties over the years, but a “I Found My Sheep” party sounds like the worst. Despite that, I still love this story.

The second story in Luke 15 is essentially the same as the tale of the lost sheep, but it is about a lost coin. Thus, there is less poop and fleas, but still the same awkward party at the end to celebrate finding the lost coin.

Finally, there is the story of the prodigal son. I like this one the most because sometimes it is hard to relate to a sheep or coin. However, a dude who lived it up, made some poor life decisions, and found himself full of regret and laying face down in the mud, yea, I get that. Although the prodigal son blew a bunch of his dad’s money on booze and prostitutes, the dad still welcomes his son back with open arms. Yep, the son screwed up. A lot. Yep, he hit rock bottom. Yep, pops still threw a rocking party to celebrate the fact that his son came home. It didn’t matter that the son was filthy. He was home.

I love these stories because they remind me (1) that we should throw more parties; (2) that God isn’t up there excitedly waiting to smack me down each time I screw up; and (3) my mistakes will never be too great for His grace.

I am the sheep.  I am the lost coin.  I am the prodigal son.

I am also hungry for some McDonald’s breakfast. BRB.

Thankful

Christmas and Halloween are pretty rad, but Thanksgiving is the Britney Spears of holidays.  

Thanksgiving is the best holiday.  Yo.

There is amazing food, endless football, and it’s not out-of-control crazy like Christmas.  Most importantly, it’s an amazing time of reflection and gratitude.

Our 2013 Thanksgiving Family Photo
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Things will look a little different next year.

Oh, and I can eat SO much pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and not even feel that bad about it.

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Back to the “important” stuff.  Being thankful and junk.

Here’s what I’m most thankful for in 2013:

-A God who forgives.  I desperately need that.  All the time.

-A wife who is patient and doesn’t reject my pleas to help film “music” videos.

Awkward White Guy Rap - Lose Yourself - Eminem

-The dude(tte) who invented selfies.

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-Creative friends.

Bert and Ernie

-A little boy and a little girl.

Sonogram

Sriracha.  I put that stuff on everything.

-Jordans

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-Baby Jordans.

Baby Jordans

-The new fro-yo place by my office.

-The new fro-yo place by my house.

Justin Timberlake.  “Mirrors” was my jam this year.

-My new brother-in-law.  Now I don’t feel like a third wheel when Amanda and her sister hang out.

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-A job where I can be myself

-A church that encourages me to become a better version of myself

-Tom Brady.  Thanks for standing ten feet away from me in January.  It was fun hanging out with you.  (It counts.)

-Sparkling water

-The heroes who come to our Cap City Church small group.  Y’all are nuts, but you are encouraging and entertaining individuals who I don’t want to do life without.

-“Wrecking Ball.”  This was the best song of 2013.  Hopefully I didn’t ruin it.

-The Mexican and Peruvian restaurants by our house.

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-Razors

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Hannah M., Brian W., Matt C., Jon Acuff, and Taylor Swift.  You all inspired and encouraged me to start writing this blog.  Thanks.  Now, you must apologize to the rest of the world.

-The people who read this blog.  It means the world to me and I am so grateful for you.

-Red pants

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-My Virginia Beach friends.  Yes, our city can be a little cheesy.  Yes, it can be a little trashy.  However, it’s an amazing place to grow up.  Plus, it’s full of spectacular people.

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-All my friends.  Thanks for the encouragement and the laughs.

-My BFFs who decided to marry each other.

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-Beaches in winter

-The people who actually watch my dumb “rap” videos.  They have gotten 40,000 hits on YouTube over the past few months.  That makes me a little scared for humanity.  However, ease up on the mean YouTube comments.  We have feelings too!

-Kelly Kapowski

-Silly friends

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Chubbies Shorts

-Cheesy baby stuff

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-My red Puma coat.  I’m biased, but it’s pretty dope.

Eric and Andrew

-Taco Bell.  I want you everyday.

-Getting every penny back from our trip to Toronto that was cancelled at the last second due to a blizzard.

-Going crazy for Amanda’s 30th birthday by building her a tower of 30 presents.

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-Being alive

-Powdered donuts

-Game nights

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-The Washington Nationals.  The 2013 season was disappointing, but we still had fun.

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-Haribo gummy bears

-Haribo everything else

-Our flower beds.  It was fun feeling like an old man each morning I watered the beautiful flowers and plants Paul, Eddie, and Chris planted.

Nando’s Peri Peri.  If you’ve never been, go immediately.  Eat everything.

Bonobos

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-UVA’s basketball team.  Thanks for helping me heal from a disastrous UVA football season.

-“Cruise” by Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly.  I love this song.  A lot.

-My bicycle

-Not crashing on my bike at all in 2013

-Family

-Sunrises

-Sunsets

-Chips and salsa

-Jack Link’s beef jerky

…and…most importantly…

My dog

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Oh, and Zack Morris.  Thanks for the inspiration, bro.

Bye, Weekend.

What’s up, November?!  You kind of snuck up on me, bro.

Although I had to work quite a bit and UVA’s football team continues to crush my heart each Saturday, it was still a fantastic weekend.  I hope you can say the same.  Here’s what I loved the most about this past weekend:

Bye, Weekend.  I Miss You

1.  I got to rock out with three amazing friends on Saturday.  Like the typical DC weekend, we made a rap video.  Other than my twin babies, it is my favorite thing I’ve ever made.  Seriously.  I’ve done a lot of cheesy musical performances over the years.  This one is actually good.  I hope.

2.  Halloween candy is still plentiful around our house.

3.  We had some folks over on Thursday for a non-party Halloween party.  It was fun catching up with old friends, meeting some new ones, and eating way too much food.

4.  I’m a 30-year-old attorney.  I spent Friday night playing a wrestling video game with two other legal professionals who are also present/future fathers.  Yep, we’re a mature and classy bunch.  Oh, and I also got to hang out with my super fly goddaughter.  Unfortunately, her parents separated us because I was “allegedly” teaching her “bad” things.  Whatever.

The Reach

5.  I caught up with a remarkable friend from dear ole’ UVA.  Seriously, he is the coolest and most interesting guy I’ve ever known (other than Justin Timberlake).  Hopefully we will break our streak of only seeing each other once every two years.  I hate it when life gets so busy that you can’t truly enjoy life.

6.  I got some new kicks.  I know the Bible says idolatry is bad, but I think Jesus would make an exception for Jordans.

Jordans7.  Speaking of Jesus, Pastor Dennis crushed an awesome message at Capital City Church about reaching the potential each of us has inside us and not being burdened by the heavy, confusing, and complicated yoke of religion.

8.  Our dear friends Eddie and Paul had a killer Halloween party.  I met so many wonderful people, ate so much incredible salsa, and plowed through twenty Double Stuf Oreos. I regretted two of those decisions the next morning.  Paul, who is a creative genius, had the fun idea that we should be Bert and Ernie for Halloween.  Although we looked like nightmarish versions of those beloved Sesame Street characters, it was still fun!

9.  The Patriots won.

10.  We’re one day closer to college basketball season.

Have a blessed week!

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. X) – Katy Perry

I love music.  It is one of the few times when I feel like I can truly be free.  Truly be me.

Unfortunately, God forgot to give me some musical talent.  Thus, it is truly an honor to be able to hang with friends who are amazingly talented and make some music together.

World, it is time for you to meet Jen, Evan, and David.  They are awesome.  For reals.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. X) - Katy Perry

I don’t even deserve to be in the same room with these people when anything relating to music is going down (except to be the dorky lawyer who negotiates their future record deals).  Yet, we hung out for an hour over the weekend and made this cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”  I LOVE this video and I hope you do too!  Thanks for reading, watching, sharing, and for being YOU!