Communication is Key (and hilarious)

People always say that communication is the key to success in any relationship. Other than figuring out who is going to wash the dishes, which is often a stumbling block in our marriage, that is probably correct. Having kids has also taught me that communication can be incredibly fun and hilarious.

At first, the kids were just little blobs. They could barely open their eyes. They could only cry, eat (sometimes a challenge), poop, pee, and look around ever so slightly. Occasionally, I could tell they would look at me for a brief moment. It was priceless. As they got older, those looks grew longer. Eventually those looks turned into stares.

Communication is Key (and Hilarious)

Then the kids started to squeak, or in our daughter’s case, shriek, and then they started to smile. Not because of gas, but because they were happy. “Sentences” of sounds, screams, and shrieks came next. We have had many conversations with the kids full of incoherent and high-pitched noises. Then, came the laughs, which are my favorite. Each step has been so priceless, so fun, and so hilarious.

Just like me, Austin is a little camera shy and he usually stops laughing and talking whenever the camera is around. Well, we used some ninja camera skills this week and caught him in these two fun videos. Enjoy!

Austin Laughing

Austin and Madison Talking About Their July 4th Plans

Round Two

I enjoy my job. A lot. However, the last six weeks have been tough. It’s been really sad to leave my amazing wife and kids at home each morning to go sit in an office and stare at a computer all day (and sometimes night). It’s especially tough because the kids are so happy in the mornings when I leave and, well, they are less so at night when I return.

It’s all good though.

It’s time for paternity leave, baby babies.

I took two weeks of paternity leave in April. It was amazing. However, it also felt like I was Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. It was a battle. It was exhausting. Much like that Creed-killing Communist, I lost the fight. It was just diapers and feedings for fourteen straight days. Checking the mail and taking the dog out were my recreational activities. Going back to work seemed like a vacation.

Now it’s time for Round Two of paternity leave.

We’re going to try to stretch our family wings a bit more this time. Of course, there will be plenty of diapers, feedings, and naps, but here are some other things that will be going down during these two weeks of paternity leave (I hope):

1. The kids are going to their first Nationals game! I feel bad for subjecting them to decades of frustration as a Nationals fan, but at least they’ll be in “good” company.

Round Two

2. No alarm clocks will be set.

3. I got a new bike last weekend. It’s shiny. I’ve been too scared to ride it because of the nasty weather and my massive work bag I’ve been rocking on the trail. I will ride it this week. A lot. Next week too.

4. We’re going to Charlottesville! We considered hanging out in San Francisco for a week, but my work schedule was a bit up in the air and the thought of 12 hours of flight time with two babies was terrifying. We’re excited about giving the kids a tour of our family history, visiting Monticello for the first time (I’m ashamed of that fact), and eating way too much food at some of our favorite college spots.

Round Two - UVA

5. I’m going to read a book. It has been a year.

6. There will be another silly “happy X month” photo. Sorry, kids.

Two Months

7. I’m going to eat at Taco Bell. For breakfast.

8. I’m playing a game of basketball at the Verizon Center. Amanda and the kids will be there too. I’m hoping John Wall will sign the kids’ heads.

9. I will not gain any weight on paternity leave this time, but…

10. We will eat at Dairy Queen. At least twice. I need a Blizzard.

11. It’s been about a hundred years, but rap videos will be made. The kids have been going on and on about how badly they want to be in a rap video. It’s time. Yo.

12. An epic cookout with 273 other tired parents and their kids will occur. We’re hoping we can leave our kids there for a few hours and no one will notice. I want to go see “Godzilla.”

13. The 183-foot high pile of clean clothes on the guest bed and the 392-foot pile of dirty clothes on our bedroom floor will be eliminated. By me. Amanda flooded the house last time she did laundry. That’s my game.

14. We will go on walks. Our dog will likely pout after a few dozen feet, lay down, and then I’ll be forced to carry him home. Our neighbor with the Greyhound will laugh.

Napoleon Confused

15. We will go to the neighborhood playground. I will play basketball and destroy the local middle schoolers. Amanda and the kids will pretend they don’t know me.

I. Can’t. Wait.

(All of this is subject to Amanda’s written approval.)

Happy weekend, party people!

How to be a Man

Although I’m infinitely excited to be a dad, I’m also terrified.  I’ve never been a parent before (I think), I feel awkward around babies, and I’m a pretty immature dude.  Thus, it’s a little intimidating to think that I’ll be responsible for two little humans (and a Chihuahua) in just a few months.

Thankfully, I spend two hours a day on a bicycle, which I use to think and pray about this sort of stuff (while repeatedly listening to Miley Cyrus and Florida Georgia Line).  I often think about what sort of advice I’ll give my kids.  I’m pretty sure it will be the same regardless of whether we’re having two girls, two boys, or a mix of the two.  However, because I don’t know much about being a woman, I’ve been thinking a lot about the advice I’ll give to my potential son(s) about being a man.

How to Be a Man

Of course, this list is nonnegotiable:

(1) You will love sports.
(2) You will love rock and roll.
(3) You will lift weights.
(4) You will not listen to any sissy boy band music.
(5) You will vote Republican.
(6) You will always…

Wait, nevermind.

None of that nonsense is true.

Here’s the real list:

(1)  Be yourself.

(2)  Respect everyone else.

The.  End