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

Everyday Heroes: Lamar the Lion

I know this guy who was painfully shy and he spent most of his days studying, eating junk food, and watching “Beverly Hills 90210.”

It was me.

Then I met Lamar.

Lamar the Lion - 3

I knew there was something special about Lamar the first time I saw him.  Most noticeably, he was dressed like a secret agent and leading an enormous “Men in Black” song and dance routine at Tallwood High School’s freshman orientation.  He was confident, he was charismatic, he was captivating.  I didn’t know him, but I wanted to be like him.

I still do.

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We both like to fly under the radar.

Lamar is the most gregarious person I know.  He’s also hilarious, and fifteen years later, he still captures my attention.  When Lamar walks into a room, you notice. (His bright shirts, loud voice, and enthralling personality are hard to ignore.)  He has a heart of gold and spends his workdays serving local kids and communities through various programming activities at YMCAs in the DC area.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world who look up to Lamar, who have been impacted by Lamar, and who call Lamar a hero.

I’m one of them.

Like I said, I was a shy dude back in the day and I was floating through life aimlessly.  I met Lamar, he took me under his wing, encouraged me to get involved at school, and taught me what living a passionate and engaging life is all about.  Thus, if you think I’m loud and annoying, blame Lamar.  This guy had hundreds of friends and thousands of things on his to-do list, but he took the time to mentor me.  He changed the entire trajectory of my life. For the better.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Here’s what others had to say about Lamar:

Cristina F. (@cristinamary):  “Lamar is the most resilient person I know, hands down. He has overcome so much, and I attribute that to his natural talents and abilities, which are plentiful. He is a born leader. He is an amazing friend. How long has it been now, 17 years? And NEVER a dull moment. I’m grateful for his loyalty and love. He has made me laugh more times than I can count. He has been at all of my shows, with bells on. So much support! We have seen each other through a lot of trials, tribulations, joys, successes and life lessons. Here’s to 17 more years, my dear friend!”

Amy H. (@AMH5):  “Lamar is the true definition of one-of-a-kind. He’s not only my best friend, but the brother I never had. He’s selfless, always knows how to put a smile on your face, full of words of wisdom, he is the guy who will take his shirt off his back for his friends.  Anyone who is able to call Lamar their friend should consider themselves lucky. He is one of the few people in my life that I will cherish forever. He’s been a hero to me in more ways than I could ever say. I’m proud to call him my best friend.”

Lamar the Lion - 4

Chad H. (@chadhartigan):  “My impression of Lamar in high school was that he had the most school spirit of anyone I knew. He was involved with absolutely everything: school government, theatre, administration, even cheerleading (I think). Now that we’re more than a decade removed from that context, I know that it had nothing to do with school spirit. It was people spirit. Lamar was involved with everything because he loved mingling and working with every type of person. It’s an attitude he brings to his work, his play and his relationships, and it’s infectious.”

In short, Lamar is a fabulous human being, a hilarious person to know, and a faithful friend. Most importantly, Lamar loves Miley Cyrus and he’s a great rapper:

Thank you, Lamar.  You make the world a much better place.

Thankful

Christmas and Halloween are pretty rad, but Thanksgiving is the Britney Spears of holidays.  

Thanksgiving is the best holiday.  Yo.

There is amazing food, endless football, and it’s not out-of-control crazy like Christmas.  Most importantly, it’s an amazing time of reflection and gratitude.

Our 2013 Thanksgiving Family Photo
Thankful

Things will look a little different next year.

Oh, and I can eat SO much pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and not even feel that bad about it.

Thankful5

Back to the “important” stuff.  Being thankful and junk.

Here’s what I’m most thankful for in 2013:

-A God who forgives.  I desperately need that.  All the time.

-A wife who is patient and doesn’t reject my pleas to help film “music” videos.

Awkward White Guy Rap - Lose Yourself - Eminem

-The dude(tte) who invented selfies.

Thankful3

Thankful7

-Creative friends.

Bert and Ernie

-A little boy and a little girl.

Sonogram

Sriracha.  I put that stuff on everything.

-Jordans

Jordans

-Baby Jordans.

Baby Jordans

-The new fro-yo place by my office.

-The new fro-yo place by my house.

Justin Timberlake.  “Mirrors” was my jam this year.

-My new brother-in-law.  Now I don’t feel like a third wheel when Amanda and her sister hang out.

steven

-A job where I can be myself

-A church that encourages me to become a better version of myself

-Tom Brady.  Thanks for standing ten feet away from me in January.  It was fun hanging out with you.  (It counts.)

-Sparkling water

-The heroes who come to our Cap City Church small group.  Y’all are nuts, but you are encouraging and entertaining individuals who I don’t want to do life without.

-“Wrecking Ball.”  This was the best song of 2013.  Hopefully I didn’t ruin it.

-The Mexican and Peruvian restaurants by our house.

Thankful7

-Razors

razor

Hannah M., Brian W., Matt C., Jon Acuff, and Taylor Swift.  You all inspired and encouraged me to start writing this blog.  Thanks.  Now, you must apologize to the rest of the world.

-The people who read this blog.  It means the world to me and I am so grateful for you.

-Red pants

redpants

-My Virginia Beach friends.  Yes, our city can be a little cheesy.  Yes, it can be a little trashy.  However, it’s an amazing place to grow up.  Plus, it’s full of spectacular people.

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-All my friends.  Thanks for the encouragement and the laughs.

-My BFFs who decided to marry each other.

howardandkelly

-Beaches in winter

-The people who actually watch my dumb “rap” videos.  They have gotten 40,000 hits on YouTube over the past few months.  That makes me a little scared for humanity.  However, ease up on the mean YouTube comments.  We have feelings too!

-Kelly Kapowski

-Silly friends

Stop Yelling

Chubbies Shorts

-Cheesy baby stuff

Halloween Shirt

-My red Puma coat.  I’m biased, but it’s pretty dope.

Eric and Andrew

-Taco Bell.  I want you everyday.

-Getting every penny back from our trip to Toronto that was cancelled at the last second due to a blizzard.

-Going crazy for Amanda’s 30th birthday by building her a tower of 30 presents.

amanda gifts

-Being alive

-Powdered donuts

-Game nights

twister

-The Washington Nationals.  The 2013 season was disappointing, but we still had fun.

lombo

-Haribo gummy bears

-Haribo everything else

-Our flower beds.  It was fun feeling like an old man each morning I watered the beautiful flowers and plants Paul, Eddie, and Chris planted.

Nando’s Peri Peri.  If you’ve never been, go immediately.  Eat everything.

Bonobos

bonobos

-UVA’s basketball team.  Thanks for helping me heal from a disastrous UVA football season.

-“Cruise” by Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly.  I love this song.  A lot.

-My bicycle

-Not crashing on my bike at all in 2013

-Family

-Sunrises

-Sunsets

-Chips and salsa

-Jack Link’s beef jerky

…and…most importantly…

My dog

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Oh, and Zack Morris.  Thanks for the inspiration, bro.

Thankfully Employed.

There are times when I complain about my job.  I probably shouldn’t.  In the wake of the Great Recession, having a job is kind of a big deal.  Yep, it’s too stressful and I work too much, but having a job is better than the alternative.  However, like so many other things, it’s easy to take the good stuff for granted, to constantly think about the next step, and to daydream about the greener grass across the street.

This past Saturday was my three-year anniversary of being a lawyer.  I celebrated by working for ten hours.  Despite an un-awesome Saturday, I’m so thankful for my job.  It’s a place where I can be myself, I get to do interesting legal work, and I still have a life outside of the office.  Because I dwell on the negatives too much, I wanted to make a list of my ten favorite things about my job to remind me of the positive stuff.

(1)  I scored four points at the Verizon Center during a Partners v. Associates basketball game this year.  That’s more than most of the Wizards scored all season.

Thankfully Employed

(2)  My life is never in danger at work.  Sadly, this isn’t true when walking to and from the Metro.  Don’t waste your money at Barnum & Bailey, DC’s Chinatown is the real circus.

(3)  This was a work event:

Work Sucks. Sometimes.

This too:

Work Sucks. Sometimes2

Oh, and this:

Work Sucks. Sometimes3

(P.S. – White guys love throwing deuces.)

(4)  I didn’t gain 50 pounds after I started working.  25 pounds?  Yes.  50?  Nope.

(5)  Once a month, we have a fajita buffet at work.  Once a month, I eat three plates of fajitas.  Once a month, I have an “interesting” bike ride home.

(6)  I work with awesome people.  Lindsay Lohan in “Mean Girls” and pre-Federline Britney kind of awesome.

(7)  Whenever I need a laugh, I can look at my cheesy work website pictures.  Don’t let the movies fool you, no lawyer is cool enough for “action” shots.

work profile picture

(7)  My bike commute is pretty sick.

commute

8.  Although I don’t earn enough to qualify as a “baller,” we’ve paid off student loans, haven’t missed any bill payments, and can buy two car seats, two high chairs, and one giant stroller.  That’s a blessing I should never take for granted.

9.  My job is challenging.  Sometimes that means I’m up until 2:00am doing work, but I’m never usually not bored.

10.  This was a work outfit.

plaid

Rather than getting fired, our Managing Partner said I needed to charge people money to take pictures with me and donate the proceeds to charity.

Thank you, job (and thank you, Bonobos, for making those pants).