Home Alone

Although I don’t own a volleyball, I feel a lot like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” this week.

I’m living alone.

All alone.

We spent the weekend at a lake house with Amanda’s parents. It was awesome. This morning, I woke up at 5:30am, got ready in the darkness and in complete silence to avoid waking up the semi-sleeping kids, and boarded a train back to DC. Everyone else is still at the lake house. Even Napoleon stayed behind so he can do some water skiing.

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So how will I spend the next few days home alone? Other than working, going to a Nationals game, and warding off burglars with broken Christmas ornaments and buckets of paint, I’ll be sleeping. Like, going to bed at 9pm and not waking up to baby shrieking at 2:30am kind of sleeping.

Although I’ll miss everyone dearly, the thought of uninterrupted and peaceful sleep is a beautiful and glorious thing (but still not as beautiful as my wife, kids, Chihuahua, and all the junk food at the lake house).

Happy Monday, y’all!

Changing the Game

Life has changed a little bit since the twins arrived in March. For example, going to a baseball game has become quite the chaotic adventure.

Changing the Game

We’ve been to about sixty Nationals games during our time in the DC area. We like to get to the games two hours early to watch batting practice, get some sun, and chat with the players. We have watched hundreds of games on TV. Witnessing Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS in person, when Jayson Werth hit a walk off home run on the 13th pitch of an at bat to break a 1-1 tie, is one of the ten greatest moments of my life. Watching the Nationals blow a 6-0 lead in Game 5 the next night, and give up three runs with two outs in the ninth, to lose 9-7 was one of the worst ten moments of my life.

In short, our family takes baseball very seriously.

Changing the Game - 2On Friday, it was finally time to introduce the kids to one of our favorite traditions.

It was exhausting.

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Unlike prior years, when we’d just buy tickets and show up, I checked the weather report dozens of times before we decided to go to the game. We had to Goldilocks that sucker: it couldn’t be too hot or too cold. Thankfully, the weather was perfect this weekend in DC. We also weren’t going to risk the insanity of the pre and post-game Metro rides, so we reserved a parking spot for $16 in advance.

Game on.

Almost.

We got into the stadium just before the first pitch. It then took us 20 minutes to find the stroller check-in, get all our junk unloaded, and awkwardly put the kids into the baby Ergo/Bjorn/backpack things. They felt so nice and swampy. We finally got to our seats in the lower level in left field. Ten seconds later, a foul ball landed ten feet away from us. That helped with the paranoia that the kids might get hit with a ball. The kids were pretty chill for five minutes, but then the stirring began, then the crying, and then the screaming.

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The whole experience was a bit of a circus. Thankfully, our dear friends, Brian and Caroline, were there to help us out. Occasionally, we were able to talk and sometimes we even got to watch the baseball game. Amanda had to pump some milk in a bathroom stall, which probably prompted some funny looks due to the unmistakable sound that little machine makes. The six of us spent about ten minutes sitting together, the other two-and-a-half hours were spent with one of us walking/bouncing/swaying the babies somewhere in the stadium.

It was awesome.

Yup, it was different. Yup, it was tiring. Yup, it was a hassle. Nope, our family isn’t going to a game again anytime soon. But, you know what, we got to do something we love with two little babies we desperately love. That’s a win. Plus, the Nationals won too.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. XIV): Run-DMC

Look out, world!  You’re about to witness the greatest comeback in D.C. since Grover Cleveland:

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. XIV) - Run DMC

Amanda is making her long-awaited return to the rap game!

Such a momentous moment in music history warrants a legendary rap song.  After videos inspired by artists ranging from Dr. Dre and DMX to Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, it was time to look to the godfathers of rap music, Run-DMC.  Those guys took rap from the streets to the mainstream.  I’ve done their ultimate jam, “Walk This Way,” in the past, so we turned to another one of their classic hits, “It’s Tricky.”

Not only is “It’s Tricky” a super dope jam, but we love it because our boy Bryce Harper used it as one of his walk-up songs at Nationals games this past season.  You’re the man, Bryce, but this strange video is kind of your fault.

I’ll be honest, Amanda crushes it in this video.  Amazingly, she does it all with two little babies jamming inside her.  Enjoy this video and it’s extreme Caucasian awkwardness!

You can find all of the “Awkward White Guy Rap” videos here!

‘Sup, Girl?!

I’m stoked to be having a little dudette in a few months (and a dude too)!  I recently made a list of instructions telling my son how to be a man.  Well, even though I’m not speaking from experience, here is what I’ll tell my daughter about being a woman:

(1) You will always be daddy’s little princess.

(2) You will be an awesome cook.

(3) You should always act like a lady.

I think that just about covers it.  Class dismissed.

Wait, hold up yo?!

None of that is true!

Here’s what I’ll actually tell Ms. Britney Spears M——– (name changed to protect the employed):

1. Always be yourself.  Don’t let anyone, not even your parents, force you to be someone you’re not.  If you want to be a pink-loving princess, awesome.  We’ll have epic tea parties that will blow your mind.  However, I’m not-so-secretly hoping you’ll be a no-holds-barred scientist and want a microscope for Christmas.  I would say Governor, Senator, or President, but that usually involves being a lawyer.  You shouldn’t do that.  However, it’s up to you.

2. Respect everyone else.  That includes your brother, our dog(s), and, most importantly, our white couch.

3. You don’t have to watch, like, or play sports.  However, you will love the Washington Nationals.

'Sup, Girl

The end.

See you in March, dudette.

Satisfication

Amanda and I went to Memphis a few weeks ago.  We had a great time experiencing rock and roll history, eating lots of barbecue, and waking up without an alarm clock.  I’m convinced the latter is one of life’s greatest, and rarest, joys.

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There’s the baby bump making its debut at Graceland! 

Our Memphis trip also served as an important reminder:

(1)  there is no such thing as too much BBQ;

(2)  a city full of awesome all-night rock and roll bars and clubs is a great place to visit with your friends, but maybe not with your pregnant wife (“Oh, it’s already 9:30pm. I’m sleepy.”); and

(3)  the things we often strive for the most will usually leave us feeling empty.

Elvis is everywhere in Memphis.  The dude is probably the most famous person of the 20th Century.  He was loved by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of fans.  He was a baller and had more money than one could imagine.  Elvis had his own racquetball court and the walls, floor, and ceiling of his living room were covered in green shag carpet.  Despite all those wonderful things, his story ended tragically.  He was divorced, he was addicted to drugs, and he died a premature death.

Those sobering facts made me think a lot about the types of things that can bring true satisfication.  These are the things that won’t:

1.  Money: I think it’s silly when people say that money can’t buy happiness. Oh, money can definitely buy my happiness.  Temporarily.  Burritos make me happy.  A speedboat makes me happy.  A Sodastream would make me very happy (FYI – Christmas is coming soon).  All those things require money (or generous friends).  However, I don’t think any of the things money can buy will ever truly satisfy you. They are only temporary.

2.  Clothes: I love clothes. A lot.  Yes, you might feel fly when rocking some new Jordans or hot pink pants, but those feelings will eventually fade.  Your shoes will get scuffed and your slim-fit pants will eventually become no-fit pants.

3.  Popularity: Whether you’re thirsty for Facebook “likes” or the admiration of your peers, it’s not going to bring you any long-term happiness or satisfaction.  A photo of your dog got 1,000 likes on Facebook?  Cool.  Now what?  You were prom king in high school?  No one cares.

4.  Legos:  Little plastic blocks will never . . . .  wait, nevermind.  Legos will definitely bring you infinite satisfication.  (Again, Christmas is just around the corner.)

5.  Sports:  I would do anything to see the Nationals win the World Series, UVA’s hoops team win March Madness, or UVA’s football team win any bloody game.  That would be thrilling, remarkable, and would easily crack my “Top Ten Moments of My Life” list.  But then what happens the next day?  Yes, I’ll order a championship hoodie, but then life will go on as normal.

All of those things are amazing, but none of them will ever truly satisfy you.

So what will?

I’m not sure, but it probably has something to do with working hard, serving others, travel, faith, Chihuahuas, and family.

Oh, and Legos.

Da Beard

Fashion accessories are fun.  I really love shoes, ties, and pocket squares.  They can add some extra life to an outfit and allow you to bring a little craziness to the business world.  Well, I’m now rocking a new fashion accessory every single day…and night.

Da beard.

Da Beard

It wasn’t planned.  Rather, it was born out of laziness.  I usually pull the plug on beard growth after a week.  It doesn’t really mesh with teal pants and a neon shirt.  Plus, my beard turns red, and no offense to my red-headed friends, but that weirds me out a little.

But I’m not shaving this beard.  I’m not sure if it can be scientifically proven, but I’m pretty sure it is a Gandalf magic beard.  Two weeks ago, my beloved Nationals were dead.  The season was essentially over.  But then I stopped shaving.  Since that fateful evening, the Nationals are 10-1.  Our chances of making the playoffs are still incredibly small, but I’ve got faith!  More importantly, I’ve got a beard.  A magic beard.

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I love DC. A lot.

I was going to write a silly Gaga-esque post today, but it didn’t feel right in the wake of yesterday’s horrific shootings in D.C.  I also tried to write about the tragedy, but I didn’t have the words to say.  Thus, I’ll let some pictures do the talking.  Although D.C. is often the brunt of jokes and political rants, I love this city.  Here’s why:

The loves of my life met in D.C.

I love DC. A lot.

The other love of my life is in DC.

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Oh, and the other one too.

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(Hill Country BBQ. If you haven’t been yet, go. NOW.)

NYC has a million pizza joints.  DC has froyo everywhere.  We win. 

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(Our rent is cheaper too.  And there are fewer Yankees fans here.)

Lauriol Plaza.    

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If it wasn’t for the two-hour wait, I’d probably go to Lauriol Plaza every night (except for Monday nights because that’s all-you-can-eat night at Hill Country).

It is becoming clear that I eat too much.

The Washington Monument

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Mayor Gray and I are tight.

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(For the record, I have no connection to any of the corruption allegations brought against him. We just like to chill on the weekend and watch some WNBA.)

Seersucker is kinda embraced here.  Yay.

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Red pants too.

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WE’RE THE N.L. EAST CHAMPIONS!!!

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(for one more week)

Our July 4ths are pretty epic.

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(even with a caged Washington Monument)

Our Christmas tree is too.

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D.C. has some sweet bike trails.

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…and a sweet boy band.

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We’ve got the N.L. Rookie of the Year. 

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…and a really athletic caveman.

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Capital City Church is in D.C.  And in another month, VIRGINIA too.

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Dat Ben’s chili.

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We’ve got a sick backdrop for pickup games of touch football.
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The baddest building in the world is in D.C.

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We’ve got bike lanes so cars won’t run us over.

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The cab drivers don’t care.  The texting pedestrians are worse.

We have a lot of pretty buildings.

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(See, not all your tax dollars are wasted.)

We have Natitude.

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(But maybe a little less than last season.)

We’re an international city.

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But we all love America (and Turkey).

Most importantly, D.C. is full of amazing people. 

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My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by yesterday’s tragedy.  I hope you find some peace in this time of tumult and that you can cling to moments of joy.  A hateful lunatic can create incredible havoc and pain, but he cannot break us.

Cursed

Some combinations are awesome:

-chicken and waffles;

Queen and David Bowie;

-Chuck Taylors and suits; and

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-Me and Britney.

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Others combinations are lame:

-Joey Lawrence and the 21st Century;

-Christina Aguilera and everything;

-DC tourists and Metro escalators; and

-Me and my friend Brian.

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You see, we’re good friends.  We hang out a lot.  We go to the same church.  We’re even working together to launch a new Capital City Church location in Virginia.  One problem: we’re bad luck.  Really bad luck.

Over the past two years, we’ve been to six Nationals games together.  We’re 0-6.  In non-Brian games, I’m probably 15-6.  You do the math.

We’re cursed.

We went to a huge game last night against the Braves.  Unsurprisngly, the Nationals lost in spectacular fashion.  This was partly due to the fact that the Nationals are a bad baseball team, but it was mainly our fault.

In short, do not invite us both to your wedding.  Or any important medical procedures.

You’ll probably die.

First playoff baseball game in DC in 70+ years.  Went with Brian.

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We lost.

Won sweet field passes.

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Still lost.

Met Bryce Harper.

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#lost

Brian’s 25th Birthday!

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Lost again.  (Duh.)

Maybe we’ll have better luck on $1 hot dog night?

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Nope. Like a weird island full of polar bears and smoke monsters, we LOST.

So instead of blaming our inept coach, underperforming players, or questionable management for the Nationals’ disappointing 2013 season, now you know the real culprit:

Brian.

“Isn’t It Ironic?”

As four different Alanis Morissettes famously sang, life is fully of irony.  Life’s greatest irony:  we’re often too busy with life to truly enjoy life.

I’ve repeatedly found this to be the case throughout my 23 years.  When I was in middle school, I wanted to be in high school.  In high school, I wanted to be in college.  In college, I wanted to be in law school.  In law school, I wanted to be any other place in the world that wasn’t a law school.  And so on.

Yet, each time I advanced to the next stage of life, I looked back at my past and wished I had appreciated and maximized my time and opportunities so much more.  Instead of always stressing about the future, I should have cherished the present.

Case in point:  the 2013 Washington Nationals.

They are terrible.

The 2012 Nationals were studs.  They finished the season with the best record in baseball.  They made the playoffs for the first time ever.  They routinely won thrilling and exciting baseball games.  It was a magical time.  But it was a magical time often spent thinking about the road ahead, how many games we’d win next season, our future World Series titles, and our budding dynasty.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Although less than a year has passed, I long for those exciting nights at Nationals Park.  I desperately wish I had cherished those moments so much more.  I took them for granted because, you know, we were going to be winning division titles for the next five years.

Nope.

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(A candid moment after winning the NL East last season. This is not happening this year.  Well, the shorts still happen.)

In short, enjoy today and stop stressing about tomorrow.

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The wisest man on the planet, Andy Bernard, recently dropped some serious truth in the finale of “The Office” about this very issue.  Seriously, watch this.  And then go enjoy life.