Monday, April 30, 2012

Monitoring Time...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

It is about time to place your bets on when you guys will arrive...

Boys, give me some inside information so I will win. Please! 

Everday, someone asks me when you guys will be here, but we have no idea when that day is yet. It could be in three weeks or five weeks or anywhere inbetween. You guys are still a mystery at this point.

Today, we went to the doctor and we were able to hang out with you guys. During the ultrasound, we got a HUGE surprise. Boston and Braxton, you are not alone. Identical about identical triplets. Say hello to Braydon! I am going to have a heart attack.

Jokes...jokes...jokes. I would die! There are still just the two of you. But, the big surprise is you guys managed to completely switch places. All of those dance parties in mommy's belly have accomplished something...none of which included mommy sleeping. Braxton, you are now residing in the top bunk. Boston, you have moved to the bottom bunk for the time being. It is crazy to think that you guys completely switched places.

At this point in time, Boston is weighing in a svelt 3 pounds 7 ounces while Braxton has jumped a weight class to 3 pounds 14 ounces. As of right now, everything is looking good. But, need to make sure Braxton doesn't hog all the food. You guys gotta share. You guys are growing well. We hope to have you both over 4 pounds soon!

After we visited with your doctor, Mommy started fetal monitoring. She is really excited about it as you can see.

It is a little tough to hear due to the television in the background, but you can hear your little heart beats. Listen carefully...

During monitoring, they check your heart beats. They look at your heart rates, your movements, and the flucuation of your heart rates. You guys passed with flying colors. The doctor was very happy. Next time, I will get a better video so we can all hear your heart beats better.

Your mom is one tough woman. I have so much respect for her. Carrying you two boys has been extremely tough on her body, but she does it with a smile. She doesn't complain. She is amazing and we are lucky to have her in our lives.

I love you guys!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The "LAST" of many more "HOORAY's"

Dear Boys,

We are at 31 weeks and 5 days! Your mommy is a trooper. And, she is doing an amazing job growing you boys.

She is growing right along with you guys. It is a spectacle to watch; an amazing combination of awe-inspiring beauty and grace. She is simply stunning. She lights up a room as she is glowing with pride and happiness over you two. Her smile warms my heart. And, even though I bump into her belly on a regular basis, she is the most beautiful woman on the face of this Earth.

Well, it has been a few days since I have written. I am not sure why. I guess I am a little overwhelmed with the prospect of your upcoming arrival. I am as ready as I am ever gonna be I guess, but that is never enough. I want to be a good dad for you guys so bad. I want to provide for you, love you, and make you laugh. I want to be more than your dad...I want to be your friend. And, I cannot wait to hold you guys, play with you guys, and watch you grow.

I cannot wait for a little family to begin.

Family is the best. And, this weekend I was reminded of just how great our family is. This past weekend, Mommy and I went to the cabin with Nana, Papi, Uncle B, Aunt Riss, Kennedy, and Shane. It was one last hooray before you guys arrive. The cabin is a sanctuary of sorts. Whenever I am feeling stressed, I like to go spend a weekend up there and just relax. In the future, we will spend plenty of weekends up there.

This weekend, we spent time enjoying each other's company; playing board games, roasting S'mores, and playing in the yard. On the way up to the cabin, Mommy and I stopped at the St. George Temple. Nanie and Papi were sealed at the St. George Temple, so Mommy and Daddy wanted to take some pictures of it. There is such a special feeling on the grounds of the temple, and we wanted to take a moment just to enjoy it.

The majestic, pure white of the temple shining through the darkness.

The House of the Lord dedicated on April 6, 1877.

The greatness of America allowing us to worship as we please.




 The grounds are incredible...

After visiting the temple, we continued up to the cabin. And, I was inspired by more breathtaking views of nature. I love going to Utah because of the beautiful landscapes. We pulled over on the side of the road, and I snapped some pictures of the beautiful terrain.

I am a sucker for nature. And, the overcast skies made the environment even more beautiful.

At the cabin, we spent time in the yard. We played baseball, shot the BB gun, played Frisbee, and run around with the dogs. It was nice to just relax and have a good time.

But, before we could play in the yard, we had to cut the grass. Now, normally, a landscaper takes care of the lawn at the cabin. But, up until last week, there was snow on the grounds. So, the landscapers hadn't been by yet. But, in the shed, there was an old riding mower. Your Uncle B and I spent a good hour working on it to get it running. I am sure that it was quite comical to watch. I would hold the blade lock, Uncle B would pull the cord for the engine to start, and if it started...I would have to immediately put it into gear so it wouldn't die and then jump onto the moving mower. Very safe...I know. But, it sure was fun.

The yard is huge, and we probably had to start the thing 15 different times. It was quite hilarious.

Shane wanted to help too.

Your Uncle B is at home on a riding mower. He is the perfect red neck.

 Kennedy wanted a turn too.

Once the lawn was mowed, we had a great time playing in the yard.

Shane and Papi shot the BB gun. Papi cannot wait until you guys arrive, so he can do fun stuff with all of his grandsons. 

 Shane even hits his target with his eyes closed.

Our weekend was awesome and I cannot wait until I get to spend long, relaxing, fun weekends with my boys.

I love you guys!

To the "LAST" of many more "HOORAY's".


Saturday, April 28, 2012


Dear Boys,

This weekend, Mommy and I took some maternity pictures at the cabin. Your mom is a beautiful woman, and you can see just how gorgeous she is in these pictures. Your Aunt Alexis took some pictures a few weeks ago, and Aunt Riss took some more this weekend.

That is my favorite picture. Look how happy your mother is.


We can't wait...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Destined for Greatness...

I have been compared to Michael Phelps on the verge of winning eight gold medals in one Olympic Games.

I have rivaled Anderson Silva in his 9 consecutive title defenses and 14 straight wins in the Octagon.

I have been confused for the 1972 Miami Dolphins and Bill Russell's Celtics.

I have been considered an equal of the Tiger Woods' dominance of 2000 at Pebble Beach.

I have been proclaimed as the Muhammad Ali, the Hank Aaron, the MICHAEL JORDAN of my day. And, no...I am not black.

These accolades do not come easy.

Michael Phelps got wrinkly in a pool time and time again before he broke Mark Spitz's record. However, if Spitz would have shaved his mustache...there is no telling how dominate he could have been. I mean, seriously, have you seen that caterpillar? Phelps has probably spent more time in the pool water then I have in shower and bath water in my life

Anderson Silva wore Spandex more than any man ever should before he defended his title 9 times. He spent more time on top of other men than he should have too, but when you can kick some one's butt with one hand tied behind your can wear whatever you want. He has probably spent more time in Spandex than I have in underwear in my life.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have popped more champagne than their livers can handle. And, Russell has more rings than he does fingers. But, Kool Aid and Championship Toe Rings just doesn't have the same ring to it. The guys have probably spent more time actually winning than I pretended to do in my backyard as a kid in my life.

Tiger Wood's has dominated more than golf over the past ten years...but...we won't talk about that. After all, this is a PG-13 blog. Woods' balls have gotten more attention than anyone else in recent memory. Woods has used his wood more than anyone else too. This is too easy. Minds out of the gutter please. I am still talking about golf here. Tiger Woods has probably spent more time on a green than I have spent on grass in my life.

Muhammad Ali trained incessantly so he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Hank Aaron worked on his swing tirelessly so he could jack 755 balls out of the park.

Michael Jordan burned the midnight oil and lit a fire of desire in his heart to become the GOAT on his way to dominating the sport's world like no one we had ever seen before. All the while, he told us to "Just Do It". Which Tiger Woods adamantly followed to the literal "t".

With all this in mind, I was destined for greatness. From the day I was born, I have been preparing. The training started immediately and it has never stopped. I am training right now. I will be one of, if not, THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME.

Since the beginning, I have gone against the grain and now...I know why.

Every time, every single time, we tell someone that we are having twins they reply with "Get your sleep now" or "Better sleep now" or some other response that makes me chuckle. They all encourage us to get as much sleep as we possible can prior to the arrival of our little all stars. But, they couldn't be more wrong.

This would be like telling Michael Phelps to stay out of the pool. It would be like telling Anderson Silva to forget about moving his head or punching. It would be like telling the Miami Dolphins or Bill Russell to lose a game on purpose. It would be like telling Tiger Woods to be faithful..I telling Tiger Woods to remove his putter from his bag. It would be like Ali forgetting to float or sting - or - Aaron going to the plate without his bat - or - like telling Jordan to stick with baseball. It is just not logical.

Phelps needs the pool, Anderson needs movement, Russell needs to win, and Tiger needs his putter.

Are you complete lost yet?

These men need their tools in order to be the best. They need to train. They need to work up being the best they can be. And, that is what I have done all my life.

You see, I was a premature baby by like four weeks or something like that. My training began there. I didn't want to sleep anymore. It was time to be awake, so I came early. As a baby, I purposely cried all night long and refused naps. When I succeed at that, I knew I was destined to be the greatest. In Kindergarten, I boycotted nap time. Like Gandhi's hunger strike, I had a point to prove. As a teenager, I had as many "slumber parties" as I could. And, we never participated in the "slumber" part. Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, Street Fighter, Twisted Metal, Madden, Resident Evil, Halo, Modern Warfare, and Rock Band all took part into molding me into a champion. Little did my mom know...I was preparing for greatness at 4 a.m. A Champion never sleeps.

Since day one, I have been prepping for the glorious lack of sleep that awaits me. I have glued my eyelids open, drank a gallon of Monster, learned to function on fumes, and kicked sleep in its proverbial ass.

Late nights with friends, video games, and days that merge together without the fluttering of eyelids will finally payoff.

See Mom...I didn't really ever need to go to bed...if anything, you attempted to make me fail.

Ladies and Gentleman, the training continues as I write this at 1 a.m. The key is mind over matter, so don't get the sleep while you can...get rid of the sleep as much as you can.

Because this sleep deprivation haze that is about to begin is one of a kind, and I cannot wait to know what it feels like to be a Zombie. But, at least, I am trained...


*Any and all greatness may or may not have been self proclaimed*

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sympathy Weight...


Maybe I have put on a little bit of weight...
AND...maybe I added to that little bit a little more...
AND...then...maybe I put some more on top of that...
AND...after that...maybe I just added a tiny bit more...
And...mathematically...maybe all the little bits add up...maybe...


Maybe it was the cupcakes for breakfast...
AND...maybe it was the Twinkie for 2nd breakfast...
AND...then...maybe I dipped the Twinkie in frosting...
AND...after that...maybe I just added a tiny bit of Skittles...
AND...mathematically...maybe all the little bits add up...maybe...


Maybe it was the Five Guys' cheeseburger for lunch...
AND...maybe it was the bacon that I added...
AND...then...maybe I added fries with that...
AND...after that...maybe I just visited their awesome soda machine too many times...
AND...mathematically...maybe all that adds up...maybe...


Maybe it was the multiple breakfasts...
AND...maybe I had two of those...
AND...then...maybe it was the mid-morning snack...
AND...then...maybe it was the lunch...
AND...after that...maybe it was the 2 o'clock feeding...
AND...after that...maybe it was the pre-dinner meal, dinner, after dinner snack, evening snack, and midnight snack...
AND...mathematically...maybe all that adds up...maybe...


Maybe it is a little extra padding...
AND...maybe I am just nesting...
AND...then...maybe I am eating for two or three...
AND...after that..maybe I am PREGNANT too!
AND...mathematically...maybe all that adds up to SYMPATHY WEIGHT...maybe...


Maybe it is a little bit of sympathy...
AND...maybe it just makes it easier on her...
AND...then...maybe it just shows I care...
AND...after that...maybe it is because I want her to have a partner to lose it with...
AND...mathematically...maybe all that adds up to LOVE.



Monday, April 23, 2012

A Little Rounder...

Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Donuts, & Ice Cream.

The cravings seem to be nonstop, and it appears that one can never get their fill...after all, one is eating for two or three. So, the buffet lines, drive-thrus, bakeries, and convenience store aisles aren't safe from the waddling menace that's eating for two.

As the months pass, the belly has grown. It has become more round and full with time. The growth is quite incredible and it has caught the attention of men and women alike. They stare at the growing belly with amusement.

Late night snacks are now a regular and welcomed event. Like last night, a trip to the kitchen yielded a fantastic return. The treasure included a bowl of cereal, a cupcake, a Gatorade, some Triscuits, and a Jolly Rancher. What an awesome combination, I know. How this group of snacks ended up in one sitting is quite staggering but somehow it did.

And, after that, my pregnant wife asked for a snack too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gratitude and Talents...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

The words I write are special to me, and I hope that one day they will be important to you too. I hope you can pull something out of my jumble of words that helps you throughout your life. On an occasion, I hope you can find strength in the words I have prepared for you. I know that I will be able to look back on them fondly and they will always bring a smile to my face. They are definitely a labor of love with a great deal of emotion behind them.

On a regular basis, I find myself up at night. With your mom sleeping soundly beside me, I am alone with my thoughts. Even the dogs are snoring in unison. So, tonight is another night where I attempt to express my thoughts to you through writing. Writing is very difficult for me. No matter how many times I try to write something, I don't like it. I am usually not happy with my words. Actually, if you ask your mom, I usually am very disappointed with me words. They just never seem to do justice to my thoughts. I have always respected and envied those whom can write well. It is truly an amazing talent in my opinion. It is one of those things that I wish I could do better. It is something I desire to succeed at. So, every time I put my thoughts down on paper, I hope something of merit comes out and pulls me a little closer to that group of special people we consider "writers". It is flattering to hear that a few people read my words, and I must thank all them for that.


Every time I hear from someone new...or makes me feel a little bit better about the words I share with my small world.

Boys, tonight I have been thinking about a few things: gratitude and talents...and having gratitude for those talents you have been given.

As you have heard before, gratitude is very important in the Barrow family. It is not something that we take lightly. From a young age, I was taught by my parents to be grateful. Did I always show it? No, I didn't. I wish I had. In life, we come up short sometimes. But, we always have the ability to make things right. I have so much to be grateful. I have been blessed with a great family, amazing friends, a job, and so much more. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for everything he has given me.

Throughout life, you will meet ungrateful people. These are people that you are always there for, but they always seem to think of themselves. It doesn't matter how much you do for rarely hear thank you or receive anything in return. Still, you help them. You rise above. Because the help, the service you provide for them outweighs the thank you that you never see. You do it for you, even though it seems like it is for them.

Make sure you are always grateful and let the people know how important they are to you. You never know when you won't be able to let them know. Always, always, always...let your mother know she is loved. No one will love or sacrifice more for you than your mom. Remember that!

The other thing I have been thinking about is talents. I wonder what you guys will excel at. Whatever it is, work hard at it. You won't regret it. Develop your talents and be the best you can be at them. And, be grateful for your talents. Thank your Heavenly Father for your gifts.

I love you guys!

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Seat Is Up...

The confusion. The chaos. The lunacy. The insanity.

The madness...OH, THE MADNESS.

Our humble abode has been turned into a slightly less whimsical version of Alice in Wonderland lately. On a daily basis, I feel as if I am confronted by The March Hare or The Hatter as a world of nonsensical madness occurs when I get home from work. It is as if the "eternal tea party" begins sharply at six o'clock upon my arrival. But, like I said, our Wonderland is a lot less whimsical. I am not surprisingly greeted by talking doorknobs after chasing a white rabbit with a pocket watch. We are fresh out of blue Caterpillars smoking hookah. Absent is the massive, menacing grin of the Cheshire Cat. On occasion, the "Queen of Hearts" is present, but that is only when certain relatives are visiting. I will refrain from naming names on this one.

Still, with all those elements simultaneously missing, our crazy little house is much like the chaotic world that Alice visits. I am really not sure how it is alike so don't ask. It seemed like a good comparison at some point in time. Maybe it was that time my wife had too much sugar and she was acting like The Mad Hatter. That must have been it...see, I am not crazy. And, in a few months, it will definitely always be a crazy house. Anyways...

After a long day at work, I am greeted by a tired pregnant wife who has shared an equally long but more difficult work day. After all, she is carrying twins! I am pregnant too, but I think it is a little tougher on her than me. That is, well, before the chaos starts.

Now, I told you the story above for no real reason other than I like to hear myself talk. Lets get to the real issue at hand...

Women, we must start by getting one thing are creatures of habit. If you didn't know this, then I don't have time for you. Seriously, no time. With that said, ladies, IF you train us well enough, we are like the faithful dog. We will do thy bidding. We will always be there for you when you need us, and we may even be good enough to fetch your slippers.

But, this one is on you. If we fail, you fail. After all, it was your job to train us. You cannot just get a new puppy and leave it alone all day. You have to care for it and nurture it. You have to play with us (wink...wink), you have to feed us, and you have to clean up after us. And, sometimes, you have to let us go out on our own.

Habits. You instill the habit in us, and we are your faithful followers. You have to keep your end of the bargain though. It is as simple as that.

For my entire life, I have been taught certain things. These are things that my mom taught me and my wife continued to urge. See, it was good training. They stuck with the program. They bared with the flaws and pushed it until I got it right. They helped develop a habit. Well, they developed several good ones, but we are going to focus on one.

Time for a guessing game...
Hint #1: Boys are taught to do it at a young age
Hint #2: If they don't do it, it drives the girls in the house crazy
Hint #3: It happens in the bathroom
Hint #4: A guy is supposed to do it after they drain their lizard

If you said "wash your hands"...then you were wrong. I am not saying I condone not washing your hands after using the restroom. Actually, it is quite the contrary, you cannot wash your hands soon enough.

We are obviously addressing the toilet seat here. For years, I have been yelled at for leaving the toilet seat up. At first, I did it for the dog. Then, I felt like I was just improving every one's pit stop time. Then, I felt like I was helping people avoid accidents. Lets be honest here. We all have had that time where we really, really had to go. I am talking about your eyes turning yellow and watering. I am talking about the potty dance. I am talking about close calls here.

You are imagining it now. You rush into the bathroom slamming your shoulder against the wall on the way in. You want to rub your shoulder, but the ramming of the wall almost ended with urine spilling to the floor. It was almost like 8th gra...I mean 2nd grade all over again. As you approach the toilet, the urge to spill urine becomes overwhelming. You forget about the shoulder injury and the possible reconstructive surgery it is gonna need later. You have one mission at this point...Don't PEE Your Pants! You begin to struggle with your belt, pants button, and/or zipper. You thrash around like you are attempting to escape from a straight jacket. Your curse like a sailor and wonder why you ever purchased the stupid belt in the first place. The urine is about to escape and find its way to the floor. With that, you suddenly find yourself doing an awkward version of The Running Man in the middle of the bathroom. As you do, your pants slide quickly to floor causing you to almost fall face first into the toilet in the middle of one of your awesome dance moves. If you are lucky, you catch yourself while making some sort of "stank face". You are just in time to free your private area and let it fly. This embarrassing scene can only be capped off one way...

And, that is with you letting it fly all over the floor because you couldn't get the toilet seat up in time.

And, that is only if it was #1. If it was #2, that is another story altogether. See, in my defence...the leaving of the toilet seat is a strategic move.

Even with the facts laid out before them, women still want the toilet seat put down. So, for the past twenty plus years, I have been abiding by the rules. For the most part, I put the toilet seat down as requested by those in authority.

Now, that habit has been formed. I am trained. It took twenty plus years, but I know what I am doing. I almost feel dirty if I leave the toilet seat up.

But, with pregnancy come chaos. Suddenly, I have The Mad Hatter screaming at me from the bathroom as she does her pregnant version of the Macarena while trying to remove the maternity jeans. Told you that Alice in Wonderland thing would make sense at some point. This hysterical scene comes complete with sighs, expletives, dancing, and screaming. It will be on Broadway soon I'm sure.

And, why all the commotion? Because I put the toilet seat DOWN. And, with that, twenty plus years of training down the drain. You failed me...I didn't fail you. You cannot teach an old dog new now on, the seat is up my friends. The seat is up! And, it is UP to STAY!

Oh...the bedlam, the pandemonium, the anarchy of the toilet seat.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Every Smallest Friend Worries...

Dear Boston and Braxton,

Today, I had a pretty rough day at work. I wasn't feeling too well, and I just didn't want to be there. But, for once in my life, I feel that I am REALLY working for something. I am working to provide for you two and the future of our little family. So, no matter how hard my day is...I just think of mommy and my boys and everything is alright.

It is like Bob Marley says: "Don't worry about a thing...

And, you know what? I know everything is going to be great. Every time I think of my boys and my beautiful wife, I get this happy feeling and I know every little thing is alright.

It is incredible how we change as we get older. I guess the normal person would refer to it as "maturing", but I would never consider myself mature. But, as I have gotten older, along with age has come perspective. I find myself thinking more logically. I find myself concerned with things other than XBox 360 achievements and who wins the basketball game. Don't get me wrong, I still find these other things enjoyable...but they are no long a priority for me. You boys have become my priority and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In the words of one of the greatest friends of all time, Winnie the Pooh:

Before you were specks on an ultrasound screen, you had already consumed my heart. Before I ever saw you, before I ever held you, and before I ever heard you cry...I loved you. And, I always will. With you guys, the smallest things are definitely taking up the most room in my heart. And, as you get bigger, you will continue to take up more and more room in my heart.

I want you to always remember that I am here for you. No matter what. I will always be there for you because in the words of Woody and Buzz:

I will be more than just your dad. I will be your friend too. I will be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a high-five after a success, and a friend to watch a game with.

And, as long as we are taking advice from fictional geniuses, we cannot forgot one of my personal favorites. In the words of Timon and Pumba:

"HAKUNA MATATA...What a wonderful means

Life is stressful. Life can be hard. But, you must always remember what is important in life. And, most of the time, you can be reminded by a Disney movie. Relax, have fun, be kind, and enjoy everything life has to offer.

If you remember Every Smallest Friend may think of these words and remember that "every little thing is gonna be alright" if you remember the "smallest things" and that "you always have a friend" which means you have "no worries" (at least that we cannot handle).

I love you guys!


Monday, April 16, 2012

What The?!! Magical Bag?!!

Did I mention that I am not alarmed?!!

Really! I'm not! Well, that is provided that my pregnant wife doesn't go off the chaotic, absolutely unexpected cliff of wildly irrational emotions again. I am talking about the unreasonable, impossible to fathom, deep end. The one that you cannot believe is in the realm of possibility. The one where your initial thought is to look for Ashton Kutcher or Betty White. After all, some punk must be off his rocker. This is the deep end that involves uncontrollable crying, illogical thinking, and the sobbing shrieks that are commonly mistaken as the infamous African Bull Elephant in labor. I apologize for reminding you of the horrors of a few weeks ago, but I needed to re-paint the picture that left me sitting in the corner of my closet, crouched in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and sucking my thumb. Now that you are visible shaken and find yourself constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure that the little clown on the tricycle isn't sneaking up on you; we can begin.

Are you alarmed? Once again, I am not alarmed!

I am, however, confused. But, as a man, I will always be confused when it comes to a woman. I cannot even begin to pretend that I understand the beautiful, irrational mind of woman. Before I receive hate mail, before you close the book or shut off the blog, and before my wife hits me...I did say your minds were beautiful. The "irrational" comment just slipped out. Give me a break...I am pregnant after all.

Men will never understand women. And, I am not sure we, as a gender, should want to. Honestly, it will just make things even more confusing. With understanding comes expectation, and what more can they expect from us? Seriously! As cavemen, we had already reached our full potential. After all, we did discover that fire thing. And, don't forget about the wheel. But hell, that one may have been invented by a women. Anyways, no matter how hard we try, it just isn't going to happen. The understanding is not going to magically appear. I am not even sure the Man upstairs, their Creator, understands them. And, I don't blame him.

This lack of understanding is part of our nature. Women, you really have to give us a break because no matter how much effort we put in, we still aren't going to comprehend your thoughts. And, this problem is only magnified when a woman is "hormonal". You know what I am talking about...the monthly visitation from the crimson monster. I think it is commonly known as "Monstrating". Now, before anyone gets all up in arms about this...Brit, Bre, Paula (sorry for singling you out)...but I must remind you that I warned you. You have been warned time and time again by others and myself that I am fairly offensive. Patience is a virtue. Don't forget that.

World War III is on the verge of breaking out once a month. And, at that point, guys suit up in their gas masks, grab some rations, and head for the wildness. The soothing, understanding world of Sportscenter calls to us. Stuart Scott's voice has been proven to substantially lower blood pressure. Research has shown that a daily dose of Dan Patrick can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. And, a Monday night with Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico, can up the resale value on your home. Sports are our refuge. And, PS: I know that all this isn't on ESPN.

Sorry about all that. I got a little sidetracked. I have a feeling I am going to be slapped a couple times in the near future, but it was totally worth it. Now, onto what made me think of this topic about understanding women.

As a man, I can leave my house with absolutely no notice. I may be sued by UPS for answering the door in the nude or picked up by Henderson PD for running around in my underwear, but as a man, I can leave at any time. I can grab my keys and wallet and head out. I can even back out of the garage without breaking a mirror. And, I made sure to replace the old mirror with those indestructible, military tested mirrors just to avoid another episode of "True Stories I Completely Lost It For No Reason". If you don't know what I'm talking about then I don't have time for you.

A man can survive with what is in his pockets. A journey of fifteen minutes doesn't require us to take much. Again, if the law allowed, the majority of us could make that trip to Wal-Mart or Gamestop in our underwear...or less. You're welcome ladies.

This is where the fundamental difference occurs. And, there are a few of them. First, if women left their houses in their underwear, there isn't a man alive that would get anything done. Straight men would gawk and lose all control. Gay men would critique and appreciate. So, regardless, no man is getting anything done on that day. Second, women as beautiful as you are...why...why does it take so long to get ready? This is another book entirely, so for now, it is just a passing thought. This next one is the one I really wanted to address. Lastly, why does a woman have to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse every time she leaves the house? And, this only gets worse when a woman is pregnant. I am not joking here. I am completely serious.

Remember, I can leave the house with just the items in my pockets. My wife, on the other hand, leaves the house with what is commonly referred to as a "purse". But, I think that name doesn't do this bag justice. This bag is of military grade. It is an all-in-one pharmacy, general supply store, and all-you-can-eat buffet. This bag has saved lives. Who needs food storage when you have my wife's purse?

Need to operate on someone? She has the supplies. Need to feed starving children? She has that covered. Need to catch up on your reading? She has a library. Want to color? She will respond with crayons or colored pencils. Missing a Monopoly piece? She has a spare thimble and the wheelbarrow. I knew we should have named our kid "Rusty Will". Need to survive for a week in the Amazon Rain Forest? Just take the purse. If my wife was allowed to take her purse on Survivor, she would win without any issues.

Mary Poppin's bag is jealous of my wife's purse. Merlin's bag doesn't hold a candle to my wife's bag. But, if he wants, she has a candle he can borrow. Just ask her, it is in her purse.

Now, while I appreciate her emergency preparedness, I have recently become concerned with this monstrosity. The other day, we were going to Babies 'R' Us to pick up some items for the boy's room. As we were approaching the store, she retrieves leftover Applebee's from her magical bag of goodness.

Really? She responded with "Hey, I needed a snack. No one will judge me, I'm pregnant". Guess I cannot really argue that one.

As I stood there dumbfounded, amazed, and completely confused, the thoughts of the differences between men and women bounced around my skull. Many more topics to come.

Back to this magical bag for a minute. This thing is filled to the brim with a mixture of items that if properly combined could probably cure cancer or achieve world peace. Instead, they sit haphazardly in my wife's bag ready to be part of my next scavenger hunt. Every time I go in their to check the pharmacy or to look for some Play Dough...I end up feeling like Christopher Columbus in his search for America - or - Lewis & Clark in their search for the Pacific - or - the quest for the Lost City of Eldorado - or - the Joker in search of the Bat Cave. Finding a stick of gum and a Tylenol in that black hole is one of my greatest accomplishments. I still put it on my resume to this day.

As my wife has been pregnant, I have come to the realization how heavy a bag that holds the contents of the world is. It is enough to cause a hernia, which reminds me, I need to turn my head and cough. Despite the hernia, being the gentleman that I am, I always offer to carry her purse. While it is somewhat embarrassing, as long as it matches my outfit like we planned before leaving the house, then I don't mind. The red one really brings out my eyes anyways. And, if we ever get separated, at least I will survive.

So, in an emergency, just look for the pregnant guy in his underwear with a matching purse because he is the guy that can save your life if it comes down to it. Just have him pull what you need out of the bag. That is...if he doesn't get lost in it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Always Show Love...

Dear Boston and Braxton,

Boys, as you come into and grow in this world, you will realize more and more how important love is. Love binds us together. It completes us. It makes life worth living.

Pablo Picasso said, "Love is the greatest refreshment in life."

And, it is. No matter how bad things get, no matter how tough my day is, no matter how down I feel...when I see your mother's face, it all goes away. Her love is the greatest refreshment.

In life, we have so many chances to share our love with others. On a daily basis, we come in contact with so many opportunities that urge us to share love. Every day is a special gift and we should strive to use that gift to make the world a better place.

I hope that you guys will strive everyday to share your love. I will strive everyday to let you know that you are loved and cared for. Simple acts of kindness can show someone just how much you love them.

I love your mother very much. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Without her, I would be lost. Without her, I wouldn't be complete. Without her, I wouldn't have you guys. Without her, I wouldn't know that "love is the greatest refreshment in life".

I try everyday to make her feel special and to feel loved. I would do anything, in the words of Garth Brooks, to make her feel my love. Today, I decided to make her breakfast in bed. It was a simple act of kindness that I hope made her feel loved. I am not a great cook so cereal and toast had to do. And, in the end, it made me feel good to do something small for her.

And, no the toast isn't burnt, it is cinnamon toast!

I love your mother very much, and I work everyday to show her that.

On December 8, 2007, my life was forever changed when I married the love of my life, your mother, and the greatest person on this Earth.

And, I am so lucky to have her. We are so lucky to have her.

No person on this Earth can take the place of your mother. Mothers are a special gift from God. As great as fathers are, a mom is a true piece of Heaven. I am incredibly grateful for my mother and how much she has done for me. She has been there for me no matter what. She has supported, cared for, and loved me more than I could ever deserve.

I love her very much. She will be an incredible Nana to you guys, just like she is as a mother to me.

Show your mother everyday just how much you love her. You will not regret showing this special woman just how much she means to you. You will never forget nor can you ever replace the love your mother has for you.

I love you Mom. And, I am sorry that it is 20 years late.

I love you Meagan. And, I cannot wait for our boys to be in your arms.

I love you boys! My life is forever changing for the better, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


PS: One day, lets watch "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". One of the best movies I have ever seen. A true depiction of love.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pops Lives...Pre Lives...In Me

Growing up, I had a knack for running. I was blessed with the genes that gave me the ability to run well. As a child, roller hockey was very popular in my neighborhood, but there was only one problem with that...I couldn't skate. And, I was scared to learn. The prospect of crashing was not appealing to me. So, when my older brother and his friends took to the streets of our cul-de-sac on their roller blades for a game of hockey, I elected to join the game using my two sturdy feet to carry me around the "rink".

My running began there, and I excelled. In school, I became one of the faster students in PE class. And, I began to enjoy it. I was small, or as my dad would say "aerodynamic". It gave me an advantage for some reason. I wasn't the quickest in the sprints, but when the distance reached over 600 yards, I could keep up or beat most. This skill came in handy in many of the sports I played. I participated in many sports including basketball, baseball, and soccer. And, the talent to run helped me with each sport.

As I approached high school, a decision had to be made. Would I continue to play soccer? Would I attempt to play football with my friends? Or would I take another route? My dad suggested that I try my hand at Cross Country. Or should I say my feet? I had a buddy that was planning to run, so I figured I would join him and follow in my father's footsteps. See, my dad was a very successful runner in high school and running was and still is one of his true passions. I thought that this was a passion that my dad and I could share. You see, my brother and my dad shared baseball. I played a little baseball, but I never really enjoyed it. I excelled at in younger days, but as I got older, it wasn't my cup of tea. I viewed running as something we could share, and it turned out better than I could imagine.

As a Freshman at Boulder City High School in 1998, I joined the Cross Country team. Feelings of inadequacy and doubt filled me as I took for my first run with the guys. They were much bigger and fast than me. The pride that I felt in junior high dissipated with each step as I fell further and further behind. Suddenly, I felt like running wasn't for me. I had always excelled, and failure did not sit well with me. In my first race, as a lowly Freshman, I fell twice. While trying to step up on a curb towards the end of the race, my foot clipped the edge and my body was sent sprawling to the ground. I was beat...physically and mentally. As I tried to rise, I fell again. This time...I was beat emotionally. Embarrassment set in. Insult was added to injury. Knees bleeding, hands scrapped, and tears ready to fill my eyes, I heard a loving voice cheering my name. I looked up through tear filled eyes to see my dad urging me to finish. At that moment, a rush of adrenaline filled my tired legs. Bruised, battered, but not beaten, I arose and slowly finished my first Cross Country race. I traversed the 2.2 mile course in just under 15 or 16 minutes. But, at that point, my time didn't matter. The proud look on my father's face erased the disappointment, embarrassment, and pain I felt. In that moment, I felt I made my father proud.

And, with that feeling of accomplishment, I knew I was doing something that we could both love. I would get better. I would get stronger. I would become the best runner I could be...eventually. I struggled my entire Freshman year. I ended up lettering on Varsity, but I didn't achieve the status I wanted. I wasn't able to go on the annual Mt. Sac trip, a privilege for the Top 7 Varsity runners. I wasn't invited to run in the Zone or State Championships. And, to be honest, I was crushed.

As my Freshman year came to an end, I resolved to be a better runner. My Sophomore year was a success. I bounced around between the 4th and 6th spot on the Varsity team. I was having the time of my life with my new passion as I hung out with my buddies. We dominated the competition winning race after race. We won almost every race we competed in my Sophomore, losing only to Kingman High (5A in AZ) at their invitational and Green Valley High (4A in LV) at a weekly tri-meet. This time, I attended the coveted Mt. Sac Invitational, which we won. We followed it up with a "Perfect 15" at the Zone Championships where I finished 5th. And, I participated in the Nevada State Cross Country Championship Meet where the Eagles dominated. We placed four runners in the top six and six runners in the top 14. I finished in 13th place closing the deal on a state title. What a moment! What a celebration! Good times with great friends. Still, I wasn't quite happy with my progression. I felt like I should be better, and I set out after my Sophomore year to improve.

Improvement takes time. Improvement takes dedication. Improvement takes passion. Improvement, as we all know, is not easy. It must be worked out. It must be cultivated. During the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years, I learned about the GREATEST RUNNER in AMERICAN HISTORY. Steve Prefontaine came back to the forefront of the running world in 1997 with the release of the movie "Prefontaine". Soon after, in 1998, the release of "Without Limits" continued to build up Pre's lasting legacy. The summer of 2000 changed running for me forever.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved Michael Jordan. Everyone knows that. I think Michael Jordan is the greatest athlete of all-time. But, he is not my favorite athlete. Despite all the memorabilia, the posters, the fanfare, and the knowledge of him I possess, he is not my favorite athlete. That title belongs to Steve Roland Prefontaine. Pre inspired me!

After watching "Prefontaine" and "Without Limits", I longed to be like Pre. I wanted to run with 1/1000th of the passion he did. At least once, I wanted to have the drive he possessed. The drive, the need, the one that ate at him everyday to be the best. Pre made me want to be better.

"Pre wasn't a runner, he was a rebel that just so happened to run." And, this rebel inspired millions. Nike didn't start with Michael Jordan. Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, started on the feet of Steve Prefontaine. The outspoken, defiant, and charismatic Pre changed the running landscape. He became a sensation. He made people care about running. He inspired millions to lace them up every morning and just run.

Pre dominated the college running scene for the University of Oregon and the infamous Bill Bowerman starting in 1970. And, in 1972, he took the United States by storm in the U.S. Trials. Pre, at the age of 21, was tasked with racing veteran George Young.

Pre looked at running a race as a work of art. And, he would do whatever it took to make that work of art as beautiful as possible. When he raced George Young at the Olympic Trials, Pre ran his masterpiece. Gradually, he increased the pace to an incredible one. Pre ran negative splits of 64.7, 65.1, 63.4, 61.5, 58.7 before finishing and demolishing his own American record with a time of 13:22.8. The young man was quickly becoming a legend.

At the age of 21, Prefontaine traveled to Munich for the tragic 1972 Olympics. After the murdering of Israeli athletes by terrorists that stormed the Olympic compound, the feeling of the games was tarnished. Still, the 5,000 meter race took place. Pre suffered a slow pace early on, and began to push with a mile left. Pre was never content with not giving everything in the tank. After all, he always said "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". Pre loved races that involved "pure guts". It was now or never for him with four laps to go. "The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." With that in mind, Pre took off attempting a four lap from the finish drive to break the best runners in the world. The 21 year old was inexperienced compared to the international field, but he was going to make a race of it. And, that he did! He ran his final mile in 4:04.

Pre could have settled for second. He could have settled for third. But, that wasn't Pre. Pre wanted to win. And, in the end, he finished fourth because he gave EVERYTHING he had in an attempt to win the race. Many runners would have gladly settled for a silver medal, but Pre wasn't just any runner. He had gold on his mind, and he would kill himself to get it. With nothing left in the tank, Pre finished his most gutsy and inspiring race in fourth place.

Steve Bence wrote about the finish saying "He didn't bring home a medal, but he helped create in that 5000 final one of the greatest, most wildly exciting distance races in history - forcing it through that incredible, four-minute, final mile, taking the lead with two laps to go, perhaps knowing already that he didn't have the late speed or the experience to hold all of 'em off. Viren, then Gamoudi, then Stewart, all got him, faster perhaps, wiser surely at the time. But none any guttier. There was no grim satisfaction that the cocky little braggart had gotten his. He'd made the race, put himself on the line, never flagged. Given it everything. He always did."

Pre's crushing loss at Munich brought him to his knees, but he rose up again. In 4 years, he believed he would meet Viren in Montreal, where he would break the world record and clutch a precious gold medal. After all, in '72, his trial's time would have decimated the Munich field. Pre began his push for '76 and gold, but he would never reach the track of Montreal. On May 30, 1975, Steve Roland Prefontaine was in a car accident that took his precious, inspiring, and amazing life. His car flipped, trapping him underneath where the weight crushed his chest. Pre died at the age of 24years old. America lost a young hero but gained a legend.

Pre taught all of us. He always gave it everything he had. He refused to run any other way. "How he won mattered to him more" than anything. Pre ran to "test the limits of the human heart. And that he did, nobody did it more often, nobody did it better."

Pre is memorialized on the road that took his life. Pre's Rock is visited by thousands and thousands of runners every year who have been inspired by his words, his life, and his lasting legacy. And, one day, I will visit his rock and leave the first medal from my Junior year with Steve Prefontaine as he inspired me to be the best that I could be.

With Pre's inspiration under my belt, I had a great Junior year that was capped with a 2nd place finish at the Zone Championships and a 6th place at the State Championships. It also ended with back-to-back Mt. Sac, Zone, and State titles.

Determined to be more dominant my Senior year, I trained hard. And, by the time the season came, I was ready. I set personal records week after week including a 10:07 2.1 mile finish, a 16:08 3.1 mile finish, and winning race after race. I set a PR at Mt. Sac running my first mile of a 5K in sub 5:00 and finishing the race in just over 16:00. I won the Zone Championships by over a minute with the lingerings of bronchitis. Our team also took home our 3rd straight Mt. Sac title and our fourth straight Zone Championship. With a chance at the coveted 3-peat of State Titles, we arrived in Reno focused and ready to go. With my lungs still recovering from bronchitis, I challenged the eventual State Champion, Jose Ramirez, for the first two miles before he pulled away. After running the first two miles in Steve Prefontaine front, flat out until I had nothing left, I was spent. I could have settled for second or third, but like Pre, I had run to win.

My legs were like logs. With 800 meters to go, I was passed by two competitors and I finished in fourth place. As I crossed the finish line, tears filled my years. As I walked out of the chute for the final time as a Boulder City Eagle, my emotions overcame me. Tears streaming down my face, I found a spot for a moment of solitude. Thanking my Lord and Savior for my abilities while wishing I had one more crack at it. As I cried, my father put his hand on my shoulder and took a knee next to me. In that moment, I could feel his love for me more than ever before. He smiled and told me how proud of me he was and all I had accomplished. An embrace and a pat on the back placed an exclamation point on a moment I will never forget.

In those moments, as I ran, I knew I made my dad proud. And, I feel so blessed to have parents who attended every race, along with grandparents who followed. I vividly remember my dad running from section of the course to section of the course yelling "form", "arms", "go Jammmer", and in one instance telling me "way to kick ass, I'm proud of you". Running is bond that brought us closer together. It was a bond we shared and it was great.

In the years after high school, I suffered two devasting knee injuries. Blowing out both knees (at separate times) on the basketball court caused some series issues. The left knee was surgically repaired in 2007 in order to fix a completely torn ACL and MCL as well as a partially torn meniscus. Later in 2011, surgery occurred on my right knee to fix a completely severed ACL and MCL as well as a half torn meniscus.

After two knee surgeries, it is time to get back on the road again. When it comes to running, I need to get my smile back.

And, I cannot wait to do it as I train for Ragnar Las Vegas 2013. I cannot wait to be on the road with my pops again and to see him smile no matter how slow I am. Because little does he know, he is my hero. Just like Pre, he inspires me on a daily basis. I hope to be able to walk at 52 years old, let alone compete in race after race, especially Ragnar.

Pops, you make me proud. And, I want to thank you for inspiring me to run again just like you encouraged me to begin this journey over 14 years ago. I love you Pops!

My Pops encouraged me to start running over 14 years ago. Pre inspired me to give it my all over 13 years ago. It is amazing how someone who died 23 years before you began your journey can inspire you for the better. Time to lace 'em up and hit the road again.

Pops, you live in me. Pre Lives...In Me. And, one day, I HOPE that all of us live in my boys!

People ask why I run.
I say "If you have to ask, you will never understand".
It is something only those select few know.
Those who put themselves through pain, but deep down know how good it feels.

It is time to get the feeling back, so one day I can share it with my boys just like my dad did me!

What running has given me, I can never give back. It has provided me with a bridge to grow closer with my father. It has provided us with an outlet. It facilitated hundreds of special moments that I will never forget. It helped me smile. And, while I can never pay it back...what I can do is share it with my boys like my father did me.

"The best day of running is not the day you start yourself, but the day you get someone else to join." - Marc Parent

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Will...

Dear Boston and Braxton,

As I sit and stare at the clock this morning, time seems to be ticking by so slow. But, in all reality, the past seven months have flown by. The closer it gets; the more inadequate I feel. As time speeds by, I realize more and more how ill equipped I am for this upcoming journey. It is difficult to put into words all the emotions I am feeling. Feelings of inadequacy come and go in life, and the feelings around this one will too...eventually.

In the coming months, you two will arrive and I will be a new father to twin boys. It is amazing to think just how far your mom and I have come to get to this point in our lives. And, while I don't think you are ever ready to be a parent, your mom is as close as they come. She has wanted this for a very long time, and she is very excited.

As for your dad, I just hope I can be a good father. I will always be there for you. I will work tirelessly to provide for you. I will love you with all my heart. And, your mom will make sure you live through the first few years as your clueless dad attempts to take care of you. I will do my best to be the best father I can be to you boys.

I am excited for your arrival even though I am a little apprehensive with the propspect of TWO new boys. But, they always say that if it is easy, it probably isn't worth doing. So, with that in mind, let's get this show on the road.

I love you boys!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

You Want a What?!!!...

The top secret, volatile, late night missions to the local gas station, drive-thru, and grocery store became routine. Eventually, the graveyard shift at Albertson's, 7-Eleven, Del Taco, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy's, Friendly's Donuts and Juan's Taco Shop knew me by name. In-depth conversations would follow my purchases of apple juice and pepperoni, Slurpee's and Air-Heads, combination burritos and Cherry Coke, nachos supreme and soft tacos, chicken nuggets and McDoubles, Frostys and side salads, custard filled and chocolate cake donuts, and fajitas with mystery meat. By the way, all of these items were purchased at the same time only once. That is a night that we refuse to talk about, so please do not ask.

Anyways, back to all my homies on the graveyard, our bond was growing every night and I began to feel like we were family. Tommy bags my groceries at Albertson's and asks me about my wife's ankles. Sally rings up my Slurpee and 7-Eleven and inquires about the size of my boys. Johnny at Del Taco passes me a macho Cherry Coke and asks how Dr. Huang is treatin' us. Janet at Taco Bell gives me extra napkins and asks if the boys are kickin' ten times each in an hour. And, when I say yes, she places a gold star on our spreadsheet. Damon at Mickey D's asks if I want fries with that right after he asks how Meagan is feeling. George from Wendy's puts extra fries in the Frosty because he knows that is how she wants it. Pho at Friendly's creates her dozen before I make it to the register. And, Juan reminds me how many weeks along she is as he adds extra cheese to the tortilla.

As you can see, we are tight. These habitual trips have given me numerous precious moments with my closet friends at each window and register. Many were invited to my next Harry Potter birthday party. With each trip, we have grown closer to the point that Juan sleeps in our backyard and Pho is part of the family reunion.

Needless to say, the challenge had slipped away. It was too easy, and it left me itching for more. The missions had become in and out affairs, and...yes, there were missions to In-N-Out also.I felt I had honed my skills. I was a master of my domain. I had climbed to the top of the mountain, or so I thought. I thought I had reached the pinnacle, but then the third trimester began.

It started out as I expected, but the missions were more frequent. And, as they became more frequent, they became more pressing. Eventually, the late night room service kitchen became her number one option.

The room service requests at 10:30 p.m., midnight, and 3:12 a.m. started out regularly enough. First, it was a late night request that began with a hard nudge to my rib cage as I dreamed of Jeannie. I woke up gasping for breath and clutching my side as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was order with a side of Triscuits and a fortune cookie.

Other than the secret ninja moves used to awake me from my slumber, the order was expected.

And, when she ventured down to the kitchen to raid the cupboards and the fridge, it was actually quite comical. It began innocently enough with her pouring some Kool-Aid and grabbing a banana. But, as she passed the banana, she glimpsed a donut which made its way to the collection. But, if she was going to have a donut, then milk was a necessity. As she grabbed the milk, she glimpsed the orange. As she grabbed the orange, she realized that she couldn't leave the cheese stick alone. Soon, the group of two turned to six. At that point, she thought, string cheese is better with pepperoni, so that made its way to the table. There was too much milk for only one donut, so it was necessary to add a cookie to the snack. And, what snack would be complete without a popsicle. Her masterpiece was almost complete.

The pepperoni covered, cheese topped, glazed coated, banana flavored, orange filled, chocolate chip donut with a popsicle on the side and a glass of milk was all that was needed to accompany her glass of tropical punch Kool Aid. And, this was just the beginning.

At 3:12 a.m. on Thursday, I was awoken by a UFC style Superman punch and the order of what I thought was a peanut butter sandwich and a pickle. After a quick jab restored my sense, I realized she was asking for a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Yum!

The only problem with this one was there weren't enough pickles.

The next night, after running to the store at 1:34 a.m. for more peanut butter, a request for a PB and BB was placed. The following creation was a toasted peanut butter sandwich complete with sliced bananas and bacon.

Unique sandwiches followed on a regular basis. It began with the French's Lay's Bologna Classic. It was quickly followed up by the Pickled PB&J. Not to be overdone, the Maple Hot Cake Dog followed. Still yearning for me, she forced me to create a monster in the White Cheddar Jalapeno'd Peanut Butter Toast.

The cravings were often and they were crazy. But, eventually, they slowed down. And, at one point, I thought they had gone away. But, one night, while babysitting my niece and nephew I realized she had a problem. I cooked Shane Macaroni and Cheese, while Kennedy asked for a Hot Dog. My wife in return made a MAC-A-DOG, and with a smile she asked "Where is the chili?"