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.

War on Weight

I need some help.

I need some accountability.

I need to lose some weight.

I’ve previously written about my 20ish-year struggle with my weight. There have been many ups and downs over the years. The victories are some of my proudest moments. The setbacks are some of my lowest lows.

Much like Justin Bieber’s career, I’ve been in a steep decline over the past year.

Man in the Mirror

260 to 180.  Now hanging out at 220 (not pictured due to tired/crazy dad eyes).

I’ve always struggled with eating healthy. I have some sort of food obsession, or just really weak willpower, and always find myself munching on something, eating out of boredom, or going back for a third serving of fajitas. I hate it, but it keeps on happening.

I’ve often been able to balance out the caloric gorging by exercising a ridiculous amount. In law school, I worked out twice a day and lost 70 pounds. However, after spending most of the past three years hanging out with my work computer, that isn’t feasible anymore. It’s hard for me to accept this fact, but I’ve gained 40 pounds since I started my job in September 2010. That’s dangerous and depressing.

Biking to and from work has often been a huge help in the past, but this past winter was brutal in DC and I have been too lazy over the past six months to get out there and pop some wheelies. That downturn in exercise coincided with an unfortunate uptick in snacking. This was probably due to increased stress and the fact that there was so much more junk food in our house with two little kids on the way.

Unfortunately, the food availability and snacking hit all-time highs (technically, lows) over the past few weeks of paternity leave. Sitting around all day in a house full of food and sweet treats is a bad combination for me. In short, I ate four packs of Oreos last week. Due to the constant cycle of feeding, burping, and diapers, I haven’t exercised in two weeks (except for the bouncing I do to help the kids fall asleep).

And now none of my pants fit.

Yes, some people may say they didn’t fit before, but now my skinny jeans are no-fit jeans. I finally swallowed my pride and ordered two pairs of bigger dress pants last week. I tried them on over the weekend and they didn’t fit either. I screamed.

It’s finally time to do something about it. Again.

I’ve been polluting my body with all this junk food. I feel gross and lethargic. My love for fashion is quickly waning when nothing fits right. I recently saw some amazing floral pants that were so beautifully tacky, but I didn’t even want to buy them because of my weight gain.

That can’t happen.

Okay, rant over.

Here’s the goal:

Lose 20 pounds by July 4th, 2014.

Here’s how I’m going to get there:

(1)  Bike to work each day that the weather permits.

(2)  Lift weights before leaving from work each day.

(3)  Write down all the food and drinks I consume. This one is already paying dividends as I’ve resisted some tempting cookies and candy bars all day.

(4) You. I need accountability. Badly.

Game on.

The Christmas Miracle

Christmas is almost here!

Almost…

Almost Christmas

That means it’s time to spend priceless moments with family, eat way too much food, and pretend to like presents that are actually pretty weird.  For me, it’s also a time to be thankful for the wonderful miracle of Christmas.  It’s a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the fact that God took the form of a human (who sometimes wore tuxedo t-shirts) to restore a severed relationship with humanity.  Slightly less important, I was able to overcome a severed relationship with the gym and fit into these Christmas pants:

Bonobos Miracle

(They will be appearing at one of our church’s Christmas services this Sunday.  Hopefully they do not rip on stage.)

I’m also thrilled to announce another Christmas miracle!

I got a new pair of shoes!

The Christmas Miracle

I don’t think I’ve ever loved something so much in my entire life.  (Sorry, Amanda, but I’ve got to keep it real.)  Infinite thanks to my thoughtful, incredible, and talented friend Paul who spotted these fly Sperry kicks at DSW and knew I’d love them.  Although finding something as beautiful as those shoes is a miracle in and of itself, the price Paul paid for those bad boys makes getting those shoes the biggest miracle in DC since the Redskins actually made the playoffs last year:

$1.05!!!

DSW Receipt

In short, thanks to Jesus, Bonobos, my thighs, DSW, Sperry, and Paul for helping me believe in Christmas.

Tie Hard With a Vengeance

The weather is cold, the tree is lit, and the sounds of Christmas carols fill the air,
This holiday season, you’ll spend time with family, watch classic movies, and buy presents to show others you care.

Whether it’s for your baby daddy, your brother, or even dear ole’ dad, I bet you’ll end up getting some dude a tie,
This is what you need to do when buying fly neckwear for that special guy.

Ditch the crowded stores, avoid the long lines, and check out TheTieBar.com,
Trust me on this one, world, because my wife tells me I’m never wrong.

Just like Eminem and the music, you can “Lose Yourself” in The Tie Bar’s endless collection,
Giving a dude a TieBar tie for Christmas is the surest way to win his affection.

So if you’re buying a guy a present, a TieBar tie is what you need to get him,
He’ll look so fly that people will probably mistake him for David Beckham,

Sure, you can pay $50 for a snazzy tie at a department store,
Or you can get an even cooler tie from The Tie Bar for the same price, plus two more.

Yep, these slammin’ ties will only set you back $15 a pop,
I’ve been rocking them for years and just like “Law & Order,” I’m never gonna stop.

The quality is money, the colors are bright, and the patterns are a thrill,
These bad boys are slicker than an oil spill.

So do the guys in your life a favor and follow this fashion advice,
I guarantee that if you give your boyfriend a TieBar tie, y’all will soon be running towards a limo as people throw rice.

My TieBar.com Collection:
Tie Hard With a Vengeance

The Groove

Other than the horrifying beatdown*** the Patriots are enduring as I write this on Sunday night, it was a great weekend.

I got to hang out with awesome friends from Capital City Church as we showed a little love to some rad kids who are living in one of DC’s homeless shelters.  There was lots of football, plenty of great food, and endless laughs.

Plus, an epic battle for little league football coaching supremacy.

Me and my boy Eric have known each other since the days when Ricky Martin was “Living la Vida Loca” and the Backstreet Boys were “Want[ing] it That Way.”  We put our 13-year friendship to the test on Saturday as our teams squared off on the gridiron.

Eric and Andrew

We tried to look hard, but you know, we’re from Virginia Beach.

Thug Life

I told my team there were three rules: (1) don’t get into a fight; (2) have fun; and (3) bust out some sick dance moves when you score a touchdown.  They did all three of those things.  One kid did a somersault after an incredible 30-yard touchdown run.  Good job, bro.

My “blue” team eventually toppled their “maroon” counterparts with a dramatic game-winning rushing touchdown as time expired.  I decided to sit out the next game to ensure that I went out on top and because I was way too hyped about a bunch of eight-year-olds playing flag football and I was worried about having a stroke.

The Groove

Our pre-game jumping jacks helped us develop the stamina we needed during our game-winning touchdown drive.

Jumping Jacks

More important than any win or loss, it was such a beautiful experience hanging with these kids. I just tried to be a positive, authentic, and goofy guy when interacting with these little dudes and dudettes.  It was one of those awesome, and rare, moments when I felt like I was doing exactly what I’m on Earth to do.  By the end of the day, the kids were repeatedly screaming my name to show off their juke moves and passing skills.  In addition to coaching them to gridiron glory, I chased them around.  A lot. Today, I can barely move.  However, the aches and pains were definitely worth it.  Especially because some of the kids thought I was the real Tom Brady.

Thanks, dudes.

We also picked up some cool baby gear this weekend.  Cribs, a dresser, chairs, and all that jazz. More importantly, some new threads:

Onesie Tie

“Amanda” insisted that we buy these little onesies…

Cute Onsies

In addition to those football and fashion throwdowns, we also had a food extavaganza on Friday night with some dear friends.  We had a lot of gift cards and treated some friends to a “nice” dinner.  Amanda is obsessed with Olive Garden and wanted to indulge in the culinary offerings of that “authentic” Italian restaurant.  As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of the OG, but she was happy and we had so much fun hanging out for hours and laughing way too much (mostly at Amanda and her passion for Olive Garden).

Olive Garden

Saturday night was also a blast. We got to hang out with 20+ friends from college while eating way too much fried turkey and pumpkin pie.  It is such a rewarding experience being able to keep in touch with people we’ve been friends with for the past 12 years.  Life has changed a lot since 2001, but I’m so thankful that we’re still on this journey together.

Last, and certainly least, I also tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time on Friday.  It tasted like someone squirted fake pumpkin-flavored chemicals out of a bottle and into a cup of coffee.  Oh, right, that’s exactly what happened.  Eww.

PSL

***Okay, the Patriots scored 28 straight points after I turned off the TV to write this post….and…we just won.  Holler.

Bittersweet

I’ll admit it, sometimes I have a hard time moving on.  I’ve barely come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer in college.  I still miss “LOST, “Battlestar Galactica,” and “Gilmore Girls.”  April is the saddest month of the year because McDonald’s stops selling Shamrock Shakes during that terrible month (no offense to my wife and her April birthday).

Another important chapter comes to a close this Sunday.  Amanda and I have been going to Capital City Church in DC for the past four years.  No longer.

Bittersweet

Nope, there’s no exciting scandal (although I do occasionally steal donuts from the music team on Sunday mornings). Rather, we’re helping launch a new Cap City site in Kingstowne, Virginia on October 20th. Like the ninth inning of a close baseball game, we’re incredibly excited and nervous about this new adventure.

Before making the big move, I wanted to reflect on some of the things I loved about going to Cap City DC and the things I’ll miss the most:

1. I will miss the white hipsters of H Street. I normally feel out of place when it comes to fashion, but y’all are weird too.

2. Without the support and encouragement of my church family, I might be divorced now. This means that Capital City Church is largely responsible for the fact that Amanda and I are having twins.  Thus, we expect all you DC folks to make the trek down to Alexandria to babysit our kids.  Every weekend.

3.  I will miss having to hide all our valuables in the trunk so no one on H Street breaks into our car.

4. I will miss all the college kids who make me feel older than John McCain.

5. I will miss all the amazing restaurants on H Street.  Thanks for making me fat.

6. Specifically, Sticky Rice. I used to think that Britney Spears was God’s greatest creation.  Nope.  Sticky Rice introduced me to a metal bucket full of tater tots covered in Sriracha sauce. That, my friends, is God’s masterpiece.

7. We learned to become more generous people, both with our finances, and more importantly, our time. “You only get one shot” at life.  I want mine to be full of passion and generosity.  And tater tots.

8. I will miss Adam’s logic-defying white boy curled afro. He was the first person to greet us at Cap City DC in 2009. We’ve been coming back since then, mostly because of Adam’s hair.

Bittersweet

9. I’ve had a lot of friends and family join me at church over the past four years.  They were all different ages and all different races.  Some were gay, some were straight.  Some dudes, some dudettes.  All felt welcome.

10. This.

Bittersweet

Bye.  TGIF!

So long, my friend.

Life is full of beauty, mystery, and wonder.  Unfortunately, sometimes it’s also full of pain.

Saying “goodbye” is the worst pain of them all.

So long, my friend

After a “beautiful” four weeks, I finally had to say “goodbye” to my closest friend.

Goodbye, beard.

beard1

I was starting to feel pretty scraggy, my boss called me a lumberjack, all the red hair creeped me out a little, and my beardness also coincided with two of the hardest workweeks of my life.  I needed a fresh start.  I needed a reboot.  I needed my Backstreetness back…

Beard2

…No, that’s not quite right…

Beard 3

…Umm…NASCAR?

Beard 4

Eek.  Try again…

Gangsta

…that’s better.  It sure feels good to be a gangsta.

(I apologize for the dearth of posts over the past two weeks  Work got the best of me.  I hope both of you reading this will forgive me.)