On Koen is Almost One!

Koen,

As I write this, we are about 12 days away from your first birthday. It’s crazy to think about all the stages of this past year. But just so you have something to reference, here they are:

STAGE 1: ‘So this is what all those sounds I heard from in there is all about’ stage

STAGE 2: ‘I understand sleeping, but I refuse’ stage

STAGE 3: ‘The hold me and bounce me or else’ stage

STAGE 4: “OK I’ll sleep at night, but all bets are off during the day’ stage

STAGE 5: ‘The hold me and bounce me or else — part 2’ stage

STAGE 6: ‘So these teeth are coming soon? Well, then everything hurts’ stage

STAGE 7: ‘Hey look I can crawl! But I still need you to hold me and bounce me or else’ stage

STAGE 8: ‘I’m on the carb-only diet, TYVM’ stage

Catch me outside

So that is about it. I was going to elaborate on each of these a bit, but I think it is pretty well understood what was going on during each of those stages just by the titles. At the end of the day, the important thing is that through all the holding, chasing you around the house, and angry meal time screaming because we’re trying to get you to eat something other than Ritz crackers, your mom and I kind of like you.

As a second child, it’s really hard not to naturally compare you to Reagan. I want to describe your looks, temperament, personality, etc. to the way Reagan was when he was your age. But I realize that as you look back and read this, that isn’t really fair to you. You’re your own person and while some things might be very similar, they are inherently yours.

SWAG

You’re very much a monkey-see-monkey-do kind of kid. Maybe it’s ironic that I call you “monkey.” But you love doing a voice, waiting for me to do the same voice back to you, and then doing it again. There is a game we play (usually when I’m changing you or getting you ready for a bath) where I’ll look away and wait for you to make a noise. As soon as you do, I’ll whip my head around to face you and you will just gut-laugh. Your laugh is one of my favorite things in the world. I will I could save it on my phone and play it on repeat all day long.

Another thing about you is that while you just started crawling not too long ago, it almost seems like you’re over it and ready to walk. You love pulling yourself up on furniture or toys and using those things to move around the room or around the house. I’m always nervous when you’re on the hard floor that the toy is going to move a little faster than you, and you’ll faceplant into the floor. So, you usually ask that I follow you around and make sure that doesn’t happen. (When we’re on the carpet, go nuts! I’ll be over here).

We’ve been on a few runs together, too. I don’t think we’ve done a 1-on-1 run yet, but you mostly enjoy going in the double stroller with me and Reagan. I’m glad we have a good running double stroller, but even still, you two are NOT easy to push on that thing. Actually, the pushing isn’t the hard part, it’s the maneuvering. There is a little bit of a wheelie-and-pivot thing going on and it is a momentum-killer. I’d say you enjoy our runs for about 85% of the time. But, if we stay out too long, you let us know about it. There was one time you had enough and we were about 2 miles from home. I think I broke some course records getting us all back, all the while talking you down and explaining to Reagan that it was really hard to keep a conversation about trains with everything else going on in those 15 minutes (he is such a talker during our runs!).

Rauch Run Club

Right now in our lives, there are a lot of bad things happening to the people we love around us. I don’t think this is the right place to talk about it, but ask me in a few years and I’ll let you know what was going on. But with so much out of my control that happens in this world, I am so thankful that you are healthy, more-or-less happy, and (along with your brother) bring me so much joy. I know all of that can change in a minute, but I want to acknowledge you now and pray that continues throughout your life.

I love that you are the one that completed our family. Your mom is great about getting pictures of you and your brother (and dog Rogue) up all around the house. And as I’m sitting here now, watching you sleep on your monitor, I’m looking at pictures of all the places we’ve been in such a short time and I am so happy to have all these great memories with you. I was running by myself this morning and thinking about the cicadas that took over earlier in the spring, and how it will be another 17 years before they come back — you’ll be almost 18 the next time they come back and won’t have any idea what these things are or how they got here. But I’ll think about this first year of your life and how crazy of a time it was for our family.

Derps for days

So cheers to a wild first ride around the sun, and cheers to a lifetime of new memories that we’ll look back on one day and cherish forever.

Love,

Dad

On Paw Patrol

Reagan and the addiction that is Paw Patrol — The Movie

Boys, — actually no, just Reagan for this one,

Reagan,

So I was literally in the middle of another post about changes that you boys are going through when ezyour mom decided to “free trial” Paramount+ so we could watch The Paw Patrol Movie.

Instant Side Bar: “free trial” Paramount+ the same way we “free trialed” HBO, HULU, YouTube TV, those things from Target, a new rug to replace the other rug that we’ll move where the other rug used to be, and those things from Target — yea we’re going to have Paramount+

I digress. I was in the middle of this meaningfully-charming post about the seasons of change in your young little lives when we started watching Paw Patrol and lets just say, we’re Chase-deep in some serious Rubble. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that its been two days, and we’ve probably watched that movie six times. Between your sleeping and napping, that is like 75% of your waking hours are spent watching Paw Patrol.

Now Paw Patrol had its heyday in our house probably like, a year ago or so. It was one of those shows that you locked in on for a bit, then moved on to bigger and better things (Blaze and the Monster Machines, anyone?). I mean, we did go as 2/5 of the Paw Patrol for halloween last year, so maybe I’m underplaying it. So when your mom decided to put it on, I thought it would hold your attention for a few minutes then you’d be back to Blazing with Blippi.

Second Side Note: Blazing with Blippi would smash on some PPV channels and YOU CANNOT TELL ME THAT THE BLIPSTER DOESN’T….

I digress. In honor of your new fav. movie, I’ll offer my cinematic take on The Paw Patrol Movie. Don’t worry, parents — no spoilers.

Reagan and his team of pups

Synopsis: The Paw Patrol head to New York Adventure City to save the city from newly elected Mayor Humdinger’s latest scheme.

What they got right: so my biggest issue with Paw Patrol has always been how Rider/Ryder(?) financed the whole Paw Patrol operation. I mean, it’s not like Adventure Bay is some booming tech metropolis, and yet here is this skyscraper of a command center that houses retractable slides, fire trucks, helicopters, a central elevator shaft which just has to drive design engineer’s nutty, and the whole thing, I’m pretty sure, is on some kind of a hydraulic lift for god knows what reason. But can you imagine the taxes those people must be paying to keep that operation running? There is a character who just bakes pies all the time, usually gives them away to the townspeople anyway, and he’s probably got to shell out $100,000 every month in local taxes. Beyond that, I’m pretty sure they also have a waterfront post that is equally as impressive — probably just to make Zuma feel good about his place on the team because, lets be honest, his inclusion in the Paw Patrol feels more like charity and less like necessity.

Zuma, a fisherman who spends half of his life on the water capsized and he’s over there treading water pretty calmly in the still bay water, take your million-dollar hovercraft over to him and shoot him a life raft!

What was I talking about?

Oh, so they do acknowledge how they can afford their new, and even more impressive, command post in the center of New York Adventure City which I can appreciate.

The story is pretty good and it is entertaining throughout. Each character gets to flex their importance to the team, with the exception of Zuma. he does save a family in the big climatic final scene whose car happens to fall into the only tiny channel in the entire city.

Can you imagine being Rider/Ryder(?) and doling out directions to the Paw Patrol and him being like, “OK guys – lot going on. Need you all to get out there and save the people in the city. Oh, but Zuma, just hang by that little piece of water so in case anyone falls in, you can jump in and get them back out. What’s that, Chase? Already shot a net over the water to prevent anyone from falling in? Great thinking! Zuma, take the night off, again.”

I digress.

What they got wrong: Zuma is still on the Paw Patrol.

-Dad

To My Son, Koen

Koen,

I think I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again — sometimes I want to write to just one child. Part of me feels like I’ve written to Reagan for two years before having a chance to write to you, so there is some making up I need to do. In either case, I want to write to you because I want you to know how special you are to me, your mom, Reagan, and our family. (Not to mention, your grandparents and just about anyone else who meets you).

Your mom sometimes calls you a COVID baby — I’m hoping by the time you read this, that won’t make any sense to you. But because you were born in 2020, the sad truth is that your birth year will also be remembered as the year that COVID-19 – aka “coronavirus” — took over the world. This was a time when everyone was forced to stay indoors and away from people. Because of that, you haven’t been acclimated to the world the way a normal baby would the first year of his life.

Chilling out maxing relaxing all cool —

Despite the struggle to find normalcy this past year, you’ve been such a bright spot for me. Sure, the lack of sleep didn’t earn you many brownie points with me or your mom, but you’re starting to get the hang of it and we’re actually starting to get some sleep at night (you + your mom and me). You getting a good night’s sleep I think has made you a happier baby throughout the day, and that is just a good thing for everyone.

Right now as I write this, you’re 7 months old. Its hard to say the things you like and don’t like, because you’re still figuring out this whole world-thing, but I think there are a few things that make you more happy than others.

  • Being carried — especially in this “strap-you-to-my-chest-facing-out” thing I wear. When nothing else works, I strap you up and we just walk around the house.
  • Baths – your mom is usually the one who gives you baths, but the amount of Instagram videos or pics there are of you, naked-butt, being held by your mom getting selfies in the bathroom mirror before your bath is borderline concerning — but it is super-cute and you eat it up so I love it too.
  • Bouncing- whether it’s in your bouncer or being held under your armpits and just hopping on my stomach, you like to jump.
  • Raspberries – aka the thing when you get your belly blown on and it makes the big fart sound.
  • Waking up from naps and seeing your mom or me – you are kind of startled, but as soon as you pick up on what’s happening, you get the biggest smile.
  • Your blanket — Reagan calls his “Mel” because it’s shaped like a giraffe and we named him after the character in Madagascar. Your looks like a lion, so we tried to name him “Alex” or “Al,” but we’ll see if that sticks.

I just want you to know I’m super excited to be your dad. We have moments like tonight where you and Reagan got up at the same time, so I got you out of bed and we went into Reagan’s room where your mom and he were sitting in his bed. I laid you down next to Reagan and we had a family moment and it just made me really happy. This is just a tiny taste of what the next 15-20 years will look like as a family, and I can’t wait for all the moments — both little and big — to happen.

In the meantime, I just want you to be happy. Keep on figuring this sleep thing out, then we can work on crawling, popping some teeth out, and turning you into the happiest, healthiest, perfectest little person there is. Your mom and I are so thankful to have you complete our family, and we both love you so very very much.

-Dad

On Sleep

Boys,

Now the thing about being a parent is that you’re unable to choose which child is your favorite. With that being said, if favorite child status were based on sleep — which it isn’t — then Reagan would be far and away the favorite.

Now I’ll say this: Reagan, you weren’t the poster boy for sleep when you were a newborn either, but your mom and I have been trying to go back in our minds and remember when it clicked and you became the great sleeper that you are today. It’s very possible that it could be later than where Koen is at now, and our brains just refuse to go back to that place.

I’ll also say this: I’m writing this to you boys the day after Koen decided at 3:45am that he was going to pull an all nighter on your mom and I, so there may be some level of bias in these words. Now three hour sessions like last night aren’t the norm, but they are more common than the “wake up once, take a quick bottle, and clock out” kind of nights that we’ve seen from you.

You’re cute, but not cute enough to keep me from sleeping.

Sleep is a funny thing. When you’re young like you boys are, you sleep all the time. I guess a lot of brain development happens when you sleep, which could explain why you’re a genius, Reagan. I can count on one hand the amount of times you haven’t slept through the night in the past two years.

As you grow into your childhood, sleep becomes something you almost resent. You don’t want to go to bed, try to stay up as late as you can, and generally have enough energy in the mornings to carry you through the day without ever really feeling tired. Then you become a teenager, and you start to appreciate morning sleep like you didn’t when you were a kid. I remember Sundays when I was a teenager and didn’t have baseball practice, I would try to sleep in until noon if my mom would let me. Then college comes and noon is an early day on a weekend.

But as you get older still, and the teen years and college are in the rearview, sleep starts to become something you, dare I say, look forward to. It doesn’t happen right away. You’ll find yourself in your mid-20’s, and midnight hits a little differently than it did a few years ago. You might have Orange Theory in mind for the (not-too-early) morning and decide to bypass that last drink in lieu of getting to bed at a “reasonable” hour.

Now you’re in your late-20’s or early 30’s, and bedtime is kind of the “event” of the evening. Like, you’ll go out to dinner and get a drink with friends at 7 so that you can be home, flossed up and in bed by 9pm on a Friday — big win! If you get a workout in on the weekend, better believe you’re going to at least get an hour on the couch while football is on TV (or Bravo for your mom).

Then come kids and that thing you’ve grown to love, that sweet sweet sleep…. just goes away. Baby naps are inconsistent at best, and parents never really get restful sleep at night in between feedings because the tiniest little movement or sound that comes out of your mouth gets a full sit-up and monitor check from both parents.

Parents make jokes about “going on vacation” to a hotel where they just go to bed early and sleep in. There’s a reason that these jokes hit home with anyone who has lived with a baby for more than a few days.

Listen, I love you both and I’m just venting because your mom and I are in the thick of it right now. I’m sure that, Koen, sooner or later, you’ll figure this sleep thing out and then your mom and I can count on at least a few good hours each night, which would be super fun. But until then, just keep being healthy, hitting us with those 3am smiles that make staying up with you a little bit easier, and we’ll all figure this thing out together.

Love,

Dad

On Reagan’s Special Day

Reagan, today was your special day. Your mom had the idea to go out — just you, me, and her, and make an afternoon all about you.

I’ve said it before, but I don’t think every post I write has to be able something bigger than it has to be — sometimes it’s worthwhile to just highlight a good day we had and let that be that. Additionally, I can already feel a twinge of guilt writing a post that will be about a day that was special for Reagan, but I think that I need to be OK writing to one or the other of you boys. I know there will be posts ahead that will be directed to Koen, but this one is for Reagan.

Reagan, today was your special day. Your mom had the idea to go out — just you, me, and her, and make an afternoon all about you. We built it up last night by making sure you were ready for your big day today, and teased a few of the things we were going to do. One thing I love about you is that your steel-trap memory made it so that the first thing you said to me when I got you up this morning was “today is my special day!/?”

[“!/?” means it was a partial statement, and partial question. Almost as though you were telling me it was your special day and looking for validation — or were you asking me if it was your special day in a way that would tip me over the edge just in case I was wavering?]

So for your special day, me, you, and your mom went down to Bridge Park for check out some ‘struction ‘quipment and make a day of it down there. First, we saw said ‘struction, then crossed the bridge and wandered down to the toy store. Your mom said you could pick ANYTHING in the whole store — two days before Christmas — I know, right? Anyway, you check some things out, and settle on a diecast toy VW bus (see it in the main picture of us on this post). Not exactly “big time move,” but you were happy.

Then we crossed the bridge again, got some lunch a Rebol, and capped the day off by hitting up the chocolate store. With your mom and I being pros in the chocolate game, we hit up the counter and got some good stuff — chocolate covered oreos, chocolate grahams, etc. Once again, we gave you a free shot at anything in the place, and you took a little chocolate santa. And I should say, Santa came only after we had to talk you out of some bottom-shelf chocolate coins that were probably the least exciting thing in the entire store — you’re welcome.

We had a little in the store, but you really dug into Santa once we got home.

Now I’m writing to you a few weeks past your special day. As time has passed, I think about how much I enjoyed spending time with you and mom and hope that we don’t have to wait until 12/23 again to do that!

Now this goes for both you and Koen — but while you’re brothers, you both deserve to be made to feel special because you both are just that — special. Taking days to celebrate one of you, or even both of you, are days that should be done often. Plus, your mom and I had a ton of fun taking you around and doing something different with you guys.

This is your unique, er… “special” new picture smile!

Anyway, this won’t be a long one (partially because it’s taken me 3 weeks to finish this!), but just know that you are special Reagan. Koen, don’t be mad, you’ll get a post too and I’ll remind you that you’re special. But its OK that sometimes, I acknowledge how truly one-of-a-kind you are and how blessed your mom and I are to call you our son.

Love,

Dad

On Changes

I don’t know if “changes” is the appropriate title for this post. But when I kind think about where I want to go with this post, the thing that comes to mind first is how much life has changed for our family in the last few months. Going from one boy to two has been a huge change and a huge challenge for your mom and I — we used to be able to hand you, Reagan, off to the other and go for a run, get some work done, etc. Now, as soon as one of you goes down for a nap, it feels like it’s a mad dash for one of us to take care of something while the other holds his breath that the sleeper doesn’t wake up.

That probably makes it seem more dramatic than it really is. The truth is that life with two kids is much tougher than I think either your mom or I were expecting. She and I will always put you both first above all else, but we also want to take care of ourselves by working out, spending some time together as a couple (and not after the chaos that is “nighttime routine”), and even getting some time to ourselves to reflect and find our focus for what all we want to accomplish as a family.

I remember working with someone who had his second child and would tell me how many changes happened when they went from one child to two. I’ll admit that I probably nodded along when he told me about it, but in the back of my mind, I thought that your mom and I would have a better handle on things and we could thrive where others might not be able to do so. I think if you asked either of us in an honest moment, there is probably more surviving and less thriving in the past few months.

Sidebar: as I write these blogs, (and I think I’ve mentioned this before), but it all comes out as a stream of consciousness. Rarely do I go back through and do any major edits outside of grammar and making sure it doesn’t read to clunkily. Sometimes, I realize that the direction a post is going isn’t how I intended it to go, but I think it offers you a real insight into what life is like for us at this time, and I hope that you might take something from that should you read it later in life.

As I continue to reflect on changes — mind you, I’m doing so as you’re both sleeping, so it probably is a different perspective than it would have been an hour ago — the thing that keeps me going are the little things. Earlier today, Koen was lying on his mat-pillow-thing and the rest of us were huddled around him cheering him on as he was trying (not max effort, but there was some attempt there) to roll from his belly to his back. We eventually helped him out and cheered like he did it all himself. Then, Reagan took his hand and mom was holding the other, and then I took Reagan and mom’s hand and we kind of made a little family circle. It wasn’t a huge moment worth making a statue for, but it’s one of those million little things that make up for the craziness that fills most of our days.

Changes are hard and no one really knows how best to handle those changes until after the change already happened. Most days, I feel like I’d be a better parent-mentor than actual parent because I can tell someone, “here is what I didn’t know and wish I did. If I had the chance to go back, here is how I would have handled it.”

On that note: parents — spend the money and buy Taking Cara Babies (not a sponsor). Watch the videos. Do the things. Know it is going to be hard but worth it. Did it the first time and swore by it, then took the “throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks” approach to naps and nighttime with #2 — love you Koen!

Changes are hard but they’re also necessary. I want to reference some movie your mom had one the other day where there is a line about how diamonds are made from carbon absorbing all the heat and pressure from the earth — not that I’m using that analogy because I’d probably be the zillionth person to do so, but if I did, I’d tie a bow on it by saying that to get our family to where we will eventually be, we need to get through all the heat and the pressure of these big changes so that the two of you can shine. Again, wouldn’t ever ACTUALLY do that, but if I did, well, I’m sure it would be a good way to wrap up a blog.

Sorry not sorry,

Dad

On Two

Sons,

This is the first time I’m writing to two of you. Because, well, there are now two of you. To be honest, the have been two of you for two months, now. The fact that I haven’t written you both since then is something I regret, but I hope to continue these posts so you both can look back at this time in our lives…

To two… 🥂

Koen, you were born September 28, 2020. In fact, we’ll probably look back at this year and think of what a crazy year to have been born in, but the fact that you came healthy and happy will make your mom and I look back and appreciate 2020. Now that you’re nearly two months old, there isn’t much to say about you in terms of your personality (sorry, you don’t have a whole lot to say yet — but you have been smiling and making cuter noises lately, so you have that going for you…).

There are so many things that are different now that there are two of you. With one, your mom and I would be able to schedule handoffs so that one of us could work, work out, run an errand, or get done whatever we needed to get done, pretty easily.

As I move forward with this blog, I hope to write sometimes to each of you, and other times to both of you. The truth is, and I guess this is a lot like parenting, I am just going to figure it out as I go along and we’ll just see what happens.

The best thing I can say about where we’re at now is that we — our family — feels full. You both have so much room to grow and I’m sure things will continue to change and excite, but there is a feeling of completeness when the four of us (plus Rogue… I know, Rogue — you count too) are all home together.

So, here’s to looking ahead while staying present. To memories made and to memories to come. I love you both beyond words, to the moon and the stars and everything in between.

-Dad

On picking up where we left off

Son,

The last time I wrote to you was November 2019. To say a lot has happened since then would be the understatement of a lifetime — and some people say things like “understandment of a lifetime” and it’s more of an exaggeration — similar to the way people say “best night’s sleep EVER.” No. The best night’s sleep EVER probably requires a gallon and a half of melatonin and happens in a sleep chamber somewhere around the north pole where there is zero light.

To say a lot has happened to you, us, the world…. since November 2019 is the understatement of YOUR lifetime. Lets check the stats…

  1. You have a new brother
  2. You have a new house
  3. Lady Gaga won best song AND best collaboration on MTV Video Music Awards
  4. This thing called “COVID-19” happened and the world completely turned on it’s head
  5. Your mom and I bought and sold our first investment property
  6. Your mom got her real estate license and is in the process of selling her first house 5 weeks post-malone…. er, post-baby

…I know. Post Malone was all over the radio and still took the L. Wild year. But this blog is about you, not Post Malone.

In a lot of ways, the more things changed for us, the more they stayed the same. You’re still the same amazing little human you were last year. And when we ask you, you’re happy to remind us how smart/handsome/tall/cute/best eyes (you see all the things)/fast/strong you are.

You still see “Deb-Deb” three times a week. Your mom and I joke that you “go to school” when she comes over, because you guys are always reading, spelling, learning, or going to the pine tree park or walnut park.

You’ve also made friends with so many people around the neighborhood. To say you’re not shy when talking to people is an understatement as well. You love our neighbor “Todd,” who is the dad to two kids about the same age as you. You also like Ethan and Owen, Todd’s kids, but go out of your way to talk to Todd whenever he’s outside. You love talking about anything and everything with Miss Lynn, our next door neighbor. You and I have been outside a lot since we moved, and we always chat up Miss Lynn to let her know what’s going on in your world.

To be honest, there is really too much to try and sum up everything else that has happened in this past year, but just know that you’ve been absolutely amazing through all the chaos that has gone down this year, and through six week of being a big brother, you’ve been nothing short of amazing.

Looking forward to getting back to writing you more and to all the fun we’ll be having for years to come.

Love you, buddy.

Dad

On Kelly’s Hair Salon

What happens when a mom’s love meets a momfail, and one little boy’s locks are on the line!

Son,

Your mom loves you very much. And your dad has been known to be a little stingy when it comes to spending money. Your dad also has decided a long time ago that he is willing to spend money on a good haircut. Your mom also understands the value of a good haircut. That is why it doesn’t make any sense that we send you to “Kelly’s Hair Salon” every time you need to get your haircut.

So there’s that. But the other side of the coin is that your hair grows like weeds, and it doesn’t make sense to take you to a place to get your hair trimmed every two weeks. We did do that once, and you did really well, but the idea of taking you 20 mins away every two weeks will a.) have my hair girl not like me very much since she didn’t charge you for your first cut and b.) it’s too hard to fit into your schedule as quickly as your hair grows.

So what am I getting at? The other night, we took you to Kelly’s Hair Salon for your regular cut.

Kelly’s Hair Salon

  • Owner, stylist, and only employee: your mom
  • Motto: it’s good enough, right?
  • Location: upstairs bathroom
  • Perks: snacks and Youtube videos of Mickey Mouse and/or BIG TRUCKS!

It’s a place like Cheers where everybody knows your name (and also knows your height, weight, favorite foods, etc. etc.). Normally you get what the motto suggests, but this past cut was something else entirely.

Here is you before the cut:

86565f22-bf32-4873-bfae-f2eed047d02f

Now you look like this:

lloyd_christmas_-_Google_Search.jpg

You see, your mom may have… just a teensy-weensy bit, more on one side than the other, kinddaaaa, Lloyd Christmas’d you. When we took you to get your haircut at the non-Kelly’s Hair Salon, your mom saw the hair girl doing some vertical scissor work, and she’s been on a quest to use the same style on you.

I will give her this. Before your last cut, you were looking pretty, pretty amish. Your mom would trim around your ears, but we like your long hair so we didn’t touch that, and the long hair up top caught up to the shorter hairs around your ears, thus giving you the amish bowl (sounds like a college football game in december between some D-3 schools in Pennsylvania). Make no mistake, the amish bowl is not something you want to be known for.

But then again, neither is the Lloyd Christmas. The good thing you have going for you is that you’re so cute you can pull it off. And as I’ve told her, the shape is good. It’s just the details that did this last cut in.

So where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine. Your hair will grow back, but will you or I trust Kelly’s Hair Salon to not make the same mistake again? Do we give your mom a second chance or cut her hair privileges (see what I did there?)?

Time will tell….

img_0564
We might have to rock this look for the next few weeks until your hair grows back!

Love,

Your Dad

On my childhood

Son,

Something that struck me the other day is that you will only know me as the person I am now, and will be in the future. You won’t know me the way your mom knew me, nor will you know me the way my mom knows me. And that’s OK, but I think it is important if you know more about who I was when I was young.

I grew up in a few different places. First, there was the little red house in Reynoldsburg where your Uncle Jordan and I lived with your Grandpa Rauch and Grandma (GM) Whitt. We had a lot of woods in our back yard where we would play with the neighborhood kids, and a church softball field where we would play baseball. I remember we would use big rocks as bases because the church would remove the bases when they weren’t being used. My two best friends were Eric Fryer and Trent Spangler. Trent’s grandpa had a baseball field named after him in Reynoldsburg, and Eric and I played baseball together for a few years, and he went on to play a little in the pros.

I also liked playing Nintendo, lining up Matchbox cars with your uncle Jordan and racing them from one side of the table to the next to see which was fastest, and watching football with your grandpa Rauch.

 

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Proof I was a good kid

 

We moved to Hollywood, Florida after my mom and dad got divorced when I was about 9 or 10. I remember being angry about it for a long time, but as I grew up and saw how much happier each of them turned out with where their lives would go, I came to understand things a lot better. We moved to a city named Coral Springs, and it was more baseball and hanging out with my friends Zach Weiner, Johnny McPherson, and some kids around the neighborhood. We would rollerblade, play basketball at the park, listen to alternative music and wear Airwalk shirts and wallets with chains. I was a skater kid who could barely skate, but it was fun for me.

Also in Florida, your Grandpa Whitt came along and married your grandma. This was a big change for everyone, and I think I had a hard time with it for awhile because of the initial divorce. But I liked your grandpa Whitt and I knew your grandma liked him, and we eventually became friends. He ended up being one of, if not the most important people in my life. He showed me what it means to work hard and not accept things if they don’t fall in your favor. I hope he and I both can teach you those same things.

 

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Me and your Uncle Jordan

 

I came back to Ohio after a few years and moved to Gahanna where your Whitt family lived (and mostly still live). Around this time, your grandpa Rauch and grandma Anissa got married. Seemed like everyone was having babies, and your aunts and uncles (Tyler Paige, Mauri, Rese) all came about in those next few years. I think it was a unique thing to be the age I was and have all these new brothers and sisters in my life.

Baseball (again) was where I found my place, and between that and just meeting people in school, I made my group of friends. Middle school was a lot of fun. I would meet up with friends before school and play 2-on-2 basketball in my buddy’s driveway before walking to school. I learned to play saxophone, which led me to teach myself guitar.

High school was another fun time. I started playing golf and was on the golf and baseball team all four years of high school. My best friends were James Rice and Chris Nighland. They both played baseball and golf too, and we would hang out on the weekends. Chris lived with his grandparents who had a lot of woods in their backyard, and we took four-wheelers out to a campsite we made and camped out every warm weekend we could. We had parties out there, and I got into a little bit of trouble a few times, but mostly we just wanted to hang out and have fun.

I had a lot of jobs, too, when I was in high school. Your grandpa Whitt thought it was important for me to work hard, and I think that it helped me grow a lot and taught me responsibility. Some of my jobs (I probably can’t remember all of them) included carpet cleaner, bus boy, Abercrombie stock room worker, Gap salesperson, fence builder with your grandpa Rauch, Abercrombie warehouse worker, Uno Pizza cook, Lowes garden center worker (like, two times before I quit), and maybe some other ones in there. Some jobs I liked, and some I hated, but I always showed up and worked hard, and tried to keep a happy face while I worked. I learned a lot about a lot of different jobs, but more importantly, I learned how to work with a lot of different kinds of people.

 

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Me and 1/16th of my homecoming date

 

As I grew up, I found that the most important things to me were friends, sports, and family. I learned that my parents cared about me, and when they wanted me to work or wanted me to get straight A’s in school (sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t), it was because they were trying to show me how to be successful in the “real-world.” I know that I will expect a lot of the same things from you as you get older, but I promise that I will only push you because I believe in you, and I will only expect from you what I know you’re capable of.

I had a lot of fun growing up. I had many crazy adventures and did some things that I look back on and think, “what was I thinking?!?” I took some chances, and was smart enough to say no to other things that I knew were not good for me. I hope to share with you as much of those stories as you’ll hopefully want to hear someday, and I hope that you share with me all of the fun and adventures that you’re sure to have as you grow up.

Right now, you’re only 4 months old, and there is so much adventure ahead of you. The most important thing I’d ask of you as you grow up is to have fun, be confident in yourself, and keep your mom and I as involved in your life as possible. We will be your biggest supporters for the rest of our lives!

Love your biggest fan,

Dad