Ohhhhhh, We’re Halfway There…

The kids are now six months old. Justin Timberlake had agreed to come down to DC and perform at the kids’ (half) birthday party, but we couldn’t quite get our schedules *NSYNC…

(sorry, folks)

Oh, and we’re not having a (half) birthday party. That would be sad. Plus, we’ll probably celebrate tonight by falling asleep on the couch by 9:30pm.

That sounds like the perfect Friday night to me.

One day and (almost) six months:

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6 months - 4

Wait. Six months?! Seriously?!

Honestly, I’m not sure how that happened (other than the fact that the Earth spun around on its axis approximately 180 times). Time flies when you’re changing diapers.

Here are a few random thoughts about the kids hitting this (half) milestone:

1. Like an athlete accepting an MVP award or a rapper accepting a Grammy, I’d first like to thank God. Seriously. These babies are miracles. I never want to take that for granted.

2. I am also so thankful that these babies are healthy. They have had a few problems here and there, but nothing too major. However, those little worries have weighed heavily on us. My heart breaks when I read about precious little kids struggling with health problems.

3. Our tiny little babies aren’t so tiny anymore. I’m sure the rest of the world sees them as small, but they look huge to us. STOP GROWING UP SO FAST!

4. Babies get tired. In response, babies fight sleep. Babies are crazy.

6 Months - 2

5. Seriously, did you just wake up for the tenth time tonight?

6. Our kids love to roll over onto their stomachs when they sleep. Within seconds of rolling over, they start to scream. We flip them onto their backs. Two seconds later, they roll back onto their stomachs again. Unsurprisingly, they start to scream. Again, babies are crazy.

7. In the middle of the night, we sometimes find ourselves in a dark place between anger and frustration when the kids wake up wailing. Amanda sets the kids down sometimes and leaves the room. I grab the side of the crib and squeeze the railing. In the morning, we feel terrible about getting mad about those two precious angels.

8. If I could restart this whole parenting thing over again, I would never use a pacifier. Our kids are hooked on them. I imagine them singing Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” when they cry because their pacifiers fell out, but then I remember that might be a reference to drugs.

9. I wouldn’t trade the most frustrating and challenging moment with kids with the best moment of my life without them. I know one day I’ll desperately miss this stage when they were so dependent on us.

10. We will never get to an event on time again.

11. Seeing the kids interact with each other is priceless. However, it usually ends with someone trying to scratch the face of his or her sibling.

6 months - 3

12. We sing the kids three songs at night as part of their bedtime routine. One is “Amazing Grace.” The other are *NSYNC songs.

13. Everyone on the road seems to drive so much faster these days. Oh, and there are a lot more germs everywhere. I also leave a bunch of lights on at night now so no one robs us. In general, these kids have made me paranoid.

14. I’m running out of creative excuses to use when strangers ask to hold our babies.

15. Confession time. I wish I could breastfeed the babies. It is such an incredible way to lose weight. Oh, and there is that whole bonding thing too. Similarly, I’m always tempted to taste some of the milk when feeding bottles to the babies. I have not given into that temptation because that is both creepy and gross.

16. Sleeping for four hours straight is now a huge victory.

17. Making plans can be kind of pointless. The kids run our schedules now. More specifically, the kids’ naps run our schedules now.

18. We’ve taken cheesy birthday pictures each month. We tried to take the six-month pictures last night, but the kids had other plans. I’m really excited about their six-month costumes and the terrible pun(s) I’ll be using. Honestly, I’m probably way too excited.

The Five Month Photo:

5 Months

19. Moms are the best.

20. Toys are a waste of money.

6 Months  - 1

21. I can’t remember a life without kids. I also can’t remember a life where I didn’t have to listen to a white noise maker playing through the baby monitor all night.

22. The poop is getting grosser.

22 seems like a good ending point. Mainly because it’s late at night. Oh, and I like Taylor Swift.

Have a great weekend! Austin is already celebrating:

Everyday Heroes: Ron DMC

2013 has been a really special year.  I turned 30, found out I was going to be a babydaddy, later discovered I was having twins, and I finally got to see the Rolling Stones in concert.  Most importantly, I got a bunch of new Jordans.

Oh, and I met this incredible dude named Ron.

Everyday Heroes - Ron DMC

You may recognize him:

That video has gotten more than 4,000 hits on YouTube.  That sort of scares me.

In addition to his beautiful “falsetto” T-Swift voice, I love that Ron wears boots every single day.  If you try to put Ron in a box, he will use those boots to break those walls down.  He loves Jesus, but he also loves tattoos.  He rocks out to heavy metal music, but never misses an episode of “Gossip Girl.”  Ron is a tough military guy, but he spends more time fixing his hair than any other guy.  Ever.

Ron SelfieRon is also a veteran.  While movies and video games are the closest most of us will get to experiencing the horrors of war, Ron has witnessed it up close and personal. He’s lost friends.  He’s also struggled with depression, drugs, and divorce.  Less than a year ago, he tried to take his own life.

Now’s he the lead guitarist at Capital City Church’s new Kingstown site and one of my best friends.  Sadly, he’s leaving DC for music school in a few months.  Although I’ve only known Ron since April, he’s already meant so much to me.  We have a pretty sweet bromance and I will miss him.  A lot.  Ron has seen the best of life, but he’s also seen the transforming power of redemption, hope, and change.  When I have doubts about my own faith, Ron’s story reminds me why I believe.

He’s hilarious, he’s energetic, and he’s a perfectionist.  Both with his hair and his guitar game.  Ron makes everyone around him better.  In fact, he makes the entire world better.  Although I didn’t have a chance to interview all seven billion people on Earth, here’s what a random sample of eight really smart people had to say about Ron:

Eileen (@eileenwild): “What I appreciate about Ron is that he does life with his heart ‘all in.’  Whether it is meetings, music, or friendships, nothing is done halfway or without his contagious joy.  This one thing is for sure:  when Ron walks into a room, everything just got better.”

Ron Sky

Gio (@gio32r):  “Ron is a perfect example of God’s love.  His heart came in a box full of gift and talents.  His heart is big and willing to serve.  Mi amigo Ron eres el mejor.  You are the best, my friend.”  

Hannah (@lovehannxoxo):  “Ron is the coolest.  He is not only literally a rockstar, but he also has an incredible heart to see people connect to God and is willing to do just about anything to see that happen.  On top of that, he’s fun, can sing Taylor Swift (and everything else!), and can save your life if you’re choking or fall off of a curb.”  (Ron is also an EMT.  And Hannah is kind of clumsy.)

Jeff (@jefforzo):  “Ron is very inspirational in his tendency to dive in headfirst when he’s involved in something.  He puts himself in places where God can activate his passion and creativity, and it’s awesome to witness.”

Ron and Orzos

Ben (@benevans01):  “Ron’s a hero because he’s not just one person. He’s a talented musician, God-loving citizen who cares for everyone.  He’s also a friend who will do anything for the ones he loves and calls friends.  Doing those things aren’t easy in today’s negative-minded society, but that’s why he’s a hero!”

Alicia (@aliciaorzo):  “Ron is an encourager.  He is always working to get people excited and he is the first to “like” everything!  He brings the mood wherever he is!”

Ashley (@ashmichelley):  “Ron keeps me in stitches. And when I’m not laughing at/with him, I’m just feeling honored to call him a friend.  He’s a true worshiper who has a great head on his shoulders!” 

Amanda (@ajmccormick1):  “He’s cool.”

Ron guitar

Ron has survived life’s toughest and darkest challenges.  When I see Ron singing and playing guitar, I’m reminded that life is a miraculous and precious gift.  It is also remarkable to watch Ron play guitar and see someone doing exactly what they were born to do.

If you want to learn more about Ron, his guitar game, or his sweet hair, you should follow him on Instagram at @imronmillward.  Seriously.  Do it.

Don’t be Mean

Fat.  Stupid.  Crazy.  Ugly.  Annoying.  Weird.

Those are powerful words.  Words that tear people down, words that destroy hope, and words that leave a smoldering trail of painful memories.  Sadly, I imagine all of us have identified with at least one of those words or something similar.

I sure have.

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life.  I had to buy “husky” clothes.  Kids laughed at me for being overweight.  Pull-up day in gym class was my annual nightmare.  I hated anything involving the beach or swimming pools.  A “funny” remark by a friend in college about my weight still cuts me today.  Ten years later.

Those kinds of memories are not easily forgotten.  Even though I lost a lot of weight five years ago, it is still a constant struggle.  Every single day.

Tragically, despite the condemning power of words like “fat” and “stupid,” we sure do use them a lot.  Whether we’re talking about celebrities, random people on the street, and, sadly, even our friends, hurtful words are way too common in our vocabularies.

We should change that.

Being mean and judging people sucks.  Not only are you ripping through someone else’s emotions, but you are also missing out on all the beautiful things that person has to offer.  If all you see is a “loser,” you won’t notice the gifts, talents, and abilities he or she has been blessed with.  Gifts, talents, and abilities that can bless you if you give that “loser” a chance.

For example, one of the most important heroes of history, Miley Cyrus, is stunningly talented.  She’s accomplished more in a few years than 99.99% of humanity ever will.  Sadly, I don’t think anyone on this planet has received more criticism during the past month than Miley Cyrus.  Not Congress.  Not Assad in Syria.  MILEY RAY CYRUS.  Yep, she shaved her head (kinda). Yep, she wears some skimpy outfits (or no outfits at all). Yep, she got kinda freaky at the VMAs. Yep, her new video is a little strange.

Don't be MeanOh well.  She’s human, and weird, just like the rest of us.  I thank God I’m not judged completely by my craziest and most unflattering moments.  Other than Tom, we all have our flaws.  Even some of history’s greatest legends had some screwups:  Moses killed a dude, Elvis was hooked on drugs, Martin Luther King had an affair, and Britney Spears made a song called “E-Mail My Heart.”  We’d miss out on all sorts of awesomeness if we only judged those heroes by their faults.

So please give Miley a chance, y’all.  A lot of people have called her some terrible things and labelled her an “idiot,” a “slut,” or much worse in recent weeks.  Yep, she has some issues, just like everyone else, but she straight up made the best song of 2013.

“Wrecking Ball”

I listen to this song at least ten times a day and I’m not even ashamed of it.  If you’ve written off Miley because of some of her antics, you’re missing out on a masterpiece that would make Mozart jealous.

So please don’t rob yourself of life’s riches.  Don’t be mean.  At least that’s what Taylor Swift told me.  And Jesus.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. VI) – Lecrae

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life feels a little empty.

Wake up.  Take the dog out.  Watch him pee nine times.  Work all day.  Eat too much junk food.  Watch bad TV.  Take the dog out.  Wait 15 minutes for him to poop.  Go to bed.  Repeat.

The days pass, the weeks fly by, and the months stack up.  And then BOOM!  You’re old.

Life was meant for much for than that.  Yo.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. VI) - Lecrae

I’ve found that life has the most meaning, the most purpose, and the most awesomeness when I do two simple things:

Love God.  Love people.

That’s what this song is all about.  Enjoy!  (Be prepared for my scratchy voice. It’s rough.)

You can find all the other “Awkward White Guy Raps” below.  Kanye is up next!

Biggie

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

Eminem

Taylor Swift

Miley Cyrus

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. IV) – Taylor Swift

There are a few things in life that make me really proud:

(1)  I married a pretty cool lady;

(2)  I make awesome chili; and

(3)  I met Britney Spears.

Most importantly, me and some fellas from Capital City Church turned a TAYLOR SWIFT SONG INTO A RAP JAM!

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. IV) - Taylor Swift

I hope you like it!  Many thanks to Ron, Phil, and Evan for making my crazy dream come true.  If you think this video will help make someone’s day a little brighter, please share it.  We’re just trying to bring a few extra smiles to this wonderful world.

Enjoy!

Here are the previous editions of “Awkward White Guy Raps”:

Biggie’s “Hypnotize”

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Still D.R.E.”

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” 

New Life

How do I know that I’m old?

I can’t even remember the last time I went out dancing. I think Bush 43 was still President.

My favorite shows are no longer “Tosh.0” and “The Real World.” My favorite shows are now “Iron Chef” and “House Hunters.” And anything involving Anderson Cooper.

I do all my shopping online. Not because it’s cheaper or faster, but because crowds full of teenagers annoy me. And the mall is full of teenagers. Eww.

Finally, one of my favorite parts of the day is watering our flower beds in the morning. And pulling weeds.

Yea, that’s kind of sad, but the only thing cooler than Justin Bieber is watching those flowers grow. (And everything else in the world.)

And it sure does teach me a lot.

Just a few weeks ago, one of our plants was completely dead. It was brown, it was wilted, it was ugly. Paul, our gardening genius friend, said we needed to cut all the dead stuff off and trim it down. Well, a few weeks later, this happened:

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That little plant is now a rockstar.

Life works the same way. We all have junk in our lives that needs to be trimmed. It will be painful, but in the end, that trimming, whether it is ditching a deadbeat boyfriend, slowing down on the booze, or giving up trashy TV, will make you a better you.

Let your purple flowers shine, people. Let them shine.

Country for Old Men

I survived my ten-year high school reunion, my thirtieth birthday, and even the Backstreet Boys’ twentieth anniversary.

But I couldn’t survive Taylor Swift.

Despite our obvious mutual affection for each other, Taylor has dealt me a crippling blow.

She has made me feel old.

photo

Really old.

Whether it is due to my questionable collection of ‘80s cartoon t-shirts, the fact that I still keep in touch with hordes of high school friends, or just plain ole’ denial, I usually feel pretty young.  But when Taylor sings about the joys and fabulousness of being 22 (Zack Morris aside: Best. Song. Ever.), it makes me feel all “how about kids these days with their terrible grammar and constant texting,” “*NSYNC was eight million times better than One Direction,” and “what the heck is Tumblr?!” kinds of old.

So, Taylor, I love you, LOTS, but these “22” lyrics are killing me:

“It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight.”

Nope.  Gotta wake up and take the dog out in six hours. And then water the plants.

“It feels like a perfect night to fall in love with strangers.”

Nope.  Got married eight years ago.

“Tonight’s the night we’ll forget about the deadlines.”

Nope.  Got a job and the mortgage isn’t gonna pay itself.

In short, Taylor, you’re awesome (as I told you in all those letters).  However, you’re kind of unawesome too for making me realize that I haven’t rocked a Hypercolor shirt (these need to come back) or put down some Ecto Cooler Hi-Ci in about 100 years.  Alas, thanks for teaching me the important lesson to appreciate every second of life, as it seems to be passing by ever so swiftly.  Oh, and thanks for filling the divalicious void in my life while Britney, Katy, and Gaga are busy piecing their lives back together (and while Ke$ha still scares me a bit too much).

Peace out, youth. We had a good run.

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