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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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
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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.

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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.

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-Creative friends.

Bert and Ernie

-A little boy and a little girl.

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Sriracha.  I put that stuff on everything.

-Jordans

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-Baby Jordans.

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-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.

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-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.

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-Razors

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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

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-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.

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-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

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-Cheesy baby stuff

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

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-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.

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-Being alive

-Powdered donuts

-Game nights

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

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-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

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-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.

‘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.

Satisfaction

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.

“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.