Making Room

“Hi, kids. Here’s the room where you’ll spend the first few (?) years of your life.”

No pressure.

There were a lot of things I loved about our pregnancy: buying fun baby clothes, awkward comments made by strangers, and, finally, planning out the nursery. Although it seems like decorating and planning a nursery are topics that often end up on the to-do lists of the moms, that isn’t the case in our house. I love that kind of stuff. I spent so many hours reading a seemingly endless number of art and design websites for inspiration. Things were so serious that I almost looked at Pinterest once. Unsurprisingly, our family is pretty good at procrastinating and so we were painting walls and hanging pictures shortly before the kids made their grand debuts. Despite the frantic pace at the end, we’re happy how things turned out.

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We didn’t want the room to be too kiddy or too grown up.  We also didn’t want to fall into gender stereotypes and have flowers on Madison’s side of the room and trucks on Austin’s. Oh, and we wanted the nursery to be bright, funky, and full of color. Most importantly, there needed to be some Star Wars stuff up in there.

Mission Accomplished.

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Well, I just wrote a blog post about decorating our nursery.  I’m old.

Thank You

The world is going to get a little sillier tomorrow.

Austin and Madison will be making their wet and slimy debuts.  I have so many different thoughts and feelings about this whole parenting thing, but I can sum everything up in one word:

Thankful

I’m thankful for a determined, beautiful, passionate, and inspiring wife who never takes life too seriously.

I’m thankful for two little babies who have helped show us the beauty and miracle of life in such a profound way.

I’m thankful to have a job full of understanding and supporting co-workers who emphasize that family comes first.

I’m thankful for the two police officers who showed me how to properly install a car seat.  I forgive them for being UNC fans.

I’m thankful for our families.  They have been so generous and so encouraging.  We could not do this without them.

I’m thankful for our friends who have children.  It is priceless to see that others have gone before us and survived this crazy adventure.  Your advice, tips, and warnings are infinitely appreciated and always welcome.

I’m thankful for a church full of blessed friends and dynamic pastors who inspire us to become better people, better servants, better spouses, and better parents.

I’m thankful for UVA’s basketball team.  There is no real connection to the babies here, but you’ve helped make 2014 a very special year.

I’m thankful for all the baby gifts we’ve been given.  Babies are loud, babies are messy, and babies are expensive.  The priceless generosity of so many friends and family have really helped out with the last category.

I’m thankful for Peanut M&M’s and chocolate milk.  You’ve been Amanda’s rock, encouragement, and friend-in-need over the last seven months.

I’m thankful for all the encouraging comments on this blog, on Facebook, and on Instagram.  It means the world to me and your thoughts and tips are cherished by us both.

I’m thankful for doctors and medical workers who are wonderfully skilled in their professions and patient enough to answer all our dumb questions.

I’m thankful for a God who loves us so much that He can use two broken people for something beautiful.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for 20% off Buy Buy Baby coupons.

Thank You

Regrets

It’s almost time for Austin and Madison to make their big debuts.  Although it feels like we should be on month five or six of the pregnancy journey, we’re at Week 37 and only have a few days left.

Honestly, I’m filled with so many different emotions.  I’m infinitely excited, I’m stressed about getting the “IT’S TIME” phone call, I’m humbled that I can be a part of something so wonderful, I’m intimidated by the idea of being a role model for two living creatures, and I feel a fulfillment that I’ve never known before.

However, I also feel sad.

No, I’m not sad that we’re having kids (even though we gave up our Nationals season tickets this year because of the babies).

I’m sad that I didn’t live the last eight years to the fullest. Amanda and I are about to enter a very special season of our lives, but it is a season that will look nothing like the past decade. I’ve been becoming increasingly nostalgic about the “old” days when we ate cheap pasta 3-4 nights a week, spent our evenings watching bad reality television, and got home from work at 5:15pm.  We wandered through an Egyptian desert, hiked through Austria, and lived in Cambodia for two months.  We have a lengthy list of things we loved and appreciated about our 8+ years of childless marriage, but it’s hard not to think of the missed opportunities.  

Regrets

It would be nice to say I lived a life without any regrets, but that’s not true. However, I’ve learned from those mistakes.  After eight years of childless marriage, here’s what I wish I had done differently:

I wish I worked less.

I wish we went out to dinner more.

I wish we spent more money. Saving is great, but saving just for the sake of saving isn’t worth it. Sorry, Dave Ramsey.  #yolo

I wish I studied less in law school.

Although we went to 13 different countries, I still wish we traveled more.  There are few things more important than seeing how the other 6,999,999,999 people on this world live.

I shouldn’t have wasted so much time watching TV.  Especially “Heroes.”  That show was terrible after the first season.

I wish we went on more walks.

I wish we never spent a single second trying to blame each other for our marriage problems.

I wish we prayed together more.

I wish I spent less time looking at my phone.

I wish we didn’t walk ten miles through shady parts of Los Angeles to save $20 on a cab.

I wish we did more DC touristy stuff.

Although I didn’t drink a ton of alcohol, I still wish I drank less.

I wish we adopted a second dog. (No offense, Napoleon.)

I wish we bought a grill.  Both the cooking kind and the sweet rapper mouthpiece.

I wish I cared less about what people think and cared more about what God thinks.

I wish I never made Amanda stay at a $5 hostel in Bangkok that had poop on the wall.

Well, that’s the list.  I’m sure there are more things to add, but my metro ride is coming to an end.  I won’t sit around and wallow about those regrets, but the missed opportunities do make me feel a bit sad.  However, reflecting on such things encourages me to do better during this next stage of life.  And I’ll make sure we splurge on the $10 room next time we go to Thailand.

The Miracle

I’ve learned a lot of important things during our pregnancy.

First, I’ve discovered that it is really hard for me to eat healthy when my wife has constant cravings for chocolate and Mexican food.

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Second, I’ve learned that pregnant women love pillows. I think we had nine pillows in our bed at one point. Thankfully, that number is now down to three. However, one is an enormous anaconda-esque pillow called a Snoogle that takes over the entire bed. I’ve heard rumors that it will be hanging around even after Austin and Madison make their debuts. I’ve spent most nights during the past 8+ years hanging over the edge of the bed, while Amanda takes up the other 90%.  This Snoogle doesn’t help.  Pray for me.

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Okay, back to the important stuff. More than anything else, seeing two little babies develop over the past few months has taught me how incredibly beautiful and majestic life truly is.

I found out that we were having a baby on July 19, 2013.  I instantly fell in love. Amanda was 6-7 weeks along and the baby was the size of a poppy seed. I said so many prayers and shed so many tears of joy for that little thing. I desperately prayed for his or her health, development, and future. More importantly, I prayed that he or she would never go to law school. I dreamt about t-ball games, watching a little toddler chase around our divalicious dog, playing with Legos, teaching my kid about Star Wars, and going to Nationals games together.

Then, a week or two later, we thought the baby was gone. I woke up one Saturday morning to find Amanda in tears. We were stressed, terrified, and worried. I know a lot of people out there have been in similar situations. I’ve never felt so helpless.

So Amanda went to go see the doctor and we held our breath.

She called me at work that day. She told me I needed to sit down.  I expected the worst.  I braced for bad news. A million negative thoughts flashed through my mind in a single moment.

She told me we were having twins.

I nearly fell on the floor.  Then I laughed.

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Since that time, we’ve had 5-6 ultrasound appointments and have felt so many priceless kicks coming from inside Amanda’s womb. It is amazing to see their little hearts beating on the ultrasound machine. I am in awe when I see the complicated intricacies of their bodies and all their little organs hard at work. I’m amazed that those same little body parts will be cranking for the next 90+ years. I am stunned that all of it started with two little poppy seeds that developed and grew on their own. The masterpiece of life was imprinted on each of them from the very beginning. It is remarkable, and humbling, that we get to see it all unfold. Although I suck at math and science, witnessing these repeated miracles makes me wish I was a doctor or scientist so I could comprehend them even more. Alas, WebMD is a decent substitute and doesn’t cost me $100,000 and seven years of medical school.

In short, I hope to teach these kids so many important things. However, they helped teach me the most important lesson of all:

You can never eat too much Chipotle.

Name of Thrones – Vol. 2

Happy Friday, y’all!  We made it!

(fist pump)

Here’s the deal:  this baby stuff is getting serious.  All our nursery furniture arrived at the local Buy Buy Baby yesterday.  That’s exciting, but also terrifying.

You know that stuff in your house that doesn’t really have a place or purpose, but you just “can’t” throw away?  Well, all of that stuff, including yearbooks, scrapbooks, commemorative pillows and blankets from grandma, and “collectible” Barbies and sports cards, has just been unceremoniously tossed into a spare bedroom for the past two years.  When people come over to visit, the door to that room is always suspiciously closed.  Well, that is no longer an option because the twin invasion is coming in only two months.  So, just like Scrooge McDuck diving into a vault full of gold coins, I’ll be diving into a room full of Barbie Dolls and Beanie Babies this weekend.  Game on.

As you may know, our “baby” became “babies,” which eventually developed into a “little boy” and “little girl.” After a little discussion and debate, those little rockstars were named Aaron and Erin Austin and Madison.

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Choosing names for the kids made everything so much more real.  It’s one thing for Amanda to say “one of the babies is kicking” than it is to feel Madison flipping around like some sort of breakdancer.  It’s not just an “it,” “she,” or “her,” it’s Madison and she’s got a name, a soul, a personality, and a lot of spunk.  Meanwhile, Austin is much more of a laid back gangsta.

Well, they aren’t just Austin and Madison anymore:

They are Madison Grace McCormick and Austin Brady McCormick.

Here’s why:

We adore the name Grace.  First, it’s a short name, which is much needed when your first and last names are three-syllable beasts.  Second, the name Grace is such a beautiful reminder of the undeserved grace we’ve experienced in our lives.  My wife and I almost broke up a few times during the first five years of our marriage.  Despite our repeated failures, we now have the priceless opportunity, and responsibility, to raise, nourish, and love two beautiful children.  That’s grace.  Undeserved grace.

Unsurprisingly, we also love the name Brady.  It’s unique and classy, but not insane like Jamiroquai or Apple.  However, I understand that choosing Brady as a middle name for Austin will lead to some questions.  Let’s clear the air.

Yes, Tom Brady is my favorite person athlete ever.  Yes, I do have an incredible man crush on Tom Brady.  No, we did not name our son after Tom Brady.  We just loved the name, Amanda even more so than me, so we went with it.  The fact that our son will share a name with God’s favorite quarterback is just an added bonus.

Have a great weekend!

America’s Year in Review (2013) – The Music Video

Happy New Year!  I hope and pray that you all have a blessed, exciting, and adventurous 2014!  With twins on the way, I think I’m in for an interesting, wonderful, and tiring year!

A lot of important things happened in the United States in 2013.  Thus, I wrote a song about them.  My wife, my Chihuahua, and I then made a music video about some of those memorable moments.

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Thanks for watching, for sharing, and for being YOU!  Enjoy!

The Family

Other than some intense hours at work spent wrasslin’ with an Excel spreadsheet that has more than 20,000 rows, today was a pretty sweet Monday:

I chilled with this cool girl I know:

Amanda

I kicked it with this tough guy:

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We also got to see our little dude and dudette during a sonogram appointment today.

The dude:

Boy

The dudette:

Girl

The sonogram appointments are pretty tiring: it’s really warm in there, the white noise is sleep-inducing, and you spend 1-2 hours staring at a grainy screen.  However, those appointments are such a powerful reminder about the miracle and wonder of life.  The doctor also gives out free mints.

We’re so thankful for these little superstars.  They appear to be perfectly healthy and they have already brought us so much joy, thankfulness, and faith (and increased credit card bills).  Most importantly, the baby doctor is right next to a McDonald’s, so the babies have given us a wonderful excuse to crush some McFlurries.

Finally, we decided on the names. It’s so exciting, and makes everything so much more real, when it’s not just a “baby” or a “dude,” but a “Luke” or “Leia.”  We’ll keep the names a secret for now, but, for better or for worse, my top choices didn’t make the cut.  Thus, no Luke and Leia, Justin and Britney, Aaron and Erin, or Andy and Mandy.