Friday, June 29, 2012

17 Days Old...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

It is hard to believe that you guys are already 17 days old. Most people would say "Oh my gosh, it is going so fast". Not me though. Your Uncle B spent more time playing Modern Warfare 2 online. Your Mom has spent that many hours jazzercising and listening to the horror that is Judi. Don't worry, you will experience the horror one day. Uncle JoJo has had a 5 Guys Burger wrapped in foil in his car for longer. Heck, I have been wearing the same pair of underwear longer. Wait a minute...

Hey, don't judge me. I have twins.
The past two and half weeks have all been a blur of chaos filled with spit up, urine, and poop. However, I  have loved every minute of it. But, maybe that's due to the sleep deprivation. Whatever it is...I like it.

Today, you two went to the pediatrician's office for a check-up and a procedure. We will not go into the procedure to save you embarrassment and emotional scarring when future girlfriends read this. But, it was a big deal.

We were pleased when the doctor told us how much you both had grown. Boston is up to 6 pounds and 6 ounces. When we left the hospital, Boston was only 5 pounds and 2 ounces. Braxton is tipping the scales at 7 pounds and 7 ounces. Braxton left the hospital at 6 pounds and 4 ounces. Both of you boys have grown so much already. We are so happy that you both continue to be big and healthy.

Love you guys!

Love,
Dad

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to Work...

Boys,

I have been off of work since June 11, 2012. I have been by your mommy's side since the day you guys were born. I have spent almost every minute of your lives by your side. But, starting tomorrow, I have to go back to work. And, that stinks.

Don't get me wrong. Work is good. I am grateful to have a job and a way to provide for you guys. It is truly a blessing. But, I will definitely miss the two of you every minute that I am gone. But, it is a little easier knowing that I am working for you.

I am bummed that I have to be away from you guys, but it is part of life. I am so glad that we have decided as a family to make some sacrifices so that mom can stay with home with you. She is a great mom, and you guys will have a ton of fun with her. She loves you guys so very much.

 I will miss Braxton's looks of amazement and Boston's glaring looks when I yell..."Hey Boston, RELOAD IT!" I will miss holding you, feeding you, and even changing your diapers during the day.

As you get older, you realize how little time you get to spend with your family. I want to spend as much time with you guys as possible. As a matter of fact, I am holding Boston as I type this. I cannot get enough of you boys.

I love you guys. Be good for your mother tomorrow please. Sleep a lot, poop a little, and try not to cry.

I love you guys!

Love,
Dad


Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Photo Shoot...

Boys,

Today was one of your first adventures of your lives. We went out for your first photo shoot with a brilliant photographer named Sara Ford. She took some amazing pictures that we will cherish forever.

The photo shoot was pretty entertaining. During the session, Boston refused to sleep. He was wide awake for hours which he had never done before. As for Braxton, he urinated all over Mommy's and my feet. It was pretty hilarious. Other than that though, you guys did a great job and we captured some great memories.

All photos were taken by Sara Ford. If you are interested in speaking with her regarding a photo session, please let me know. She is awesome and does a wonderful job.

Mommy and I love these photos, and these are only a few of them. We cannot wait to see the rest of them. You guys are quite the little hams already.

I love you.

Love,
Dad


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Time With Cousins...

B & B,

Fellas, you two are some pretty lucky guys. Seriously. You have some great family around you. In particular, you have two little cousins that couldn't wait for your arrival. Kennedy and Shane would ask Meagan every day when you guys would be coming. Shane liked to tell Mommy that it was alright that her belly was big "because his cousins were in there". Or, he would just tell mommy that he liked her big belly as he rubbed it.

When we called Aunt Riss and Kennedy to let them know if you guys were girls or boys...Kennedy had her fingers crossed for a girl cousin. When we told her you were boys, she was crushed at first. But, after realizing she was the only princess in the family, she came around. In no time, she was making books for you guys and writing you letters.

She made a special book for you guys that brought tears to our eyes. It is pretty special.

Once you guys arrived, both of them couldn't wait to hold you and love on you. They want to come see you guys every day.

It is awesome to watch them interact with you guys. You guys will have a lot of fun growing up with your older cousins.

This is a picture of Kennedy holding Braxton in the hospital.

This is a picture of Shane holding Boston in the hospital.

Kennedy sang to Braxton and Shane held a conversion with Boston. It was awesome.

When we arrived home from the hospital, Shane insisted on coming over to read you guys a story. Shane really likes The Avengers. He likes them so much that he even had an Avengers party. Shane is learning to read, so he wanted to read you a story about the Avengers. Shane read you your first story after you were born.

During the story, Braxton started to fuss. Shane turned to his mom and said, "Maybe the Avengers are too scary for him". But, you guys pulled through and Shane read you the entire story of the Avengers.



Shane and Kennedy sure do love you a lot. You guys are lucky to have cousins like them.

And, they are not the only little ones interested in you guys. Your cousin, Raiden, lives in Utah with Aunt Ashlee and Uncle Ty. He is about 10 months older than you guys, so you guys will have a lot of fun when we see him.

You also have your cousin Morgan. She lives in Colorado with Aunt Sue and Uncle Chris. She is also VERY excited that you guys were coming. She sent you guys a picture that is on the fridge to let us know she was thinking of you.

She even put a bumblebee on it like the one in your nursery.

Morgan was also the first one to send you guys a package. This is the first piece of mail that you received. It had Morgie's bumblebee picture as well as some pretty awesome kicks for you guys to sport.

Needless to say, you guys have some great cousins to spend time with.

I love you guys.

Love,
Dad


Monday, June 18, 2012

Best Friends...

Boys,

From the time we found out we were having twins, we were excited at the thought of the bond that you two would share. People always tell you about the special bonds that twins share. It is a bond that usually makes them best friends for life. It is something we are very excited to watch as you guys grow. In such a short time, we have already viewed that special bond that you two share.

I already wrote about the time in the operating room where Braxton grabbed Boston's hand immediately after you were both born. As he did, you both calmed down and stopped crying. It was quite the spectacle.

And, that was just the beginning. In the hospital, you both were much calmer when you were laying side by side in the same crib.


video
And, when we brought you home it was no different. On your first night home, we tried to place you on seperate sides of the bassinet. But, neither of you liked being on your own side. You would roll off your backs onto your sides so you were facing each other. It always seemed as if you two were moving to the middle to be closer to each other. It doesn't seem possible, but I swear it was happening.

After a while of you guys being fussy, we decided to put you two on the same side of the bassinet. And, what do you know...it calmed you both down so much. You both almost immediately went to sleep.

When you guys are side by side, you seem to be much more comfortable. Your bond is already strong, and I cannot wait to watch it grow.

Love you both.

Love,
Dad

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Babysitter...

Boston & Braxton,

When we arrived home from the hospital, we received a warm welcome from two furry friends. Marley and Minnie were very excited to meet you. They wagged their tails, drooled on our feet, and whined excitedly. They peeked inside your car sears touching your hands with their cold noises. They gave each of you kisses and slept by your bassinet.

Minnie has taken a particular liking to the two of you. She is always watching over you. She whines when you guys cry. She is also so concerned about you two.

She is already your protective big sister and your watchful babysitter.

video
She loves you guys already. It is pretty amazing to watch.

I love you guys.

Love,
Dad

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Funny Faces...

Boston & Braxton,

In the short time that you guys have been home, you have had so many visitors. Family and friends have flocked to your sides. There has been an outpouring of love for you two.  It has been quite amazing.

One thing that every person who holds you guys mentions is the numerous funny faces that you guys tend to make. I am not sure if it is just GAS or if you guys are practicing to be the new JIM CAREY. It is really quite hilarious.


Keep up the faces as you guys are already getting a ton of laughs.

video
Love you.
Love,
Dad

Friday, June 15, 2012

Home Sweet Home...

Boston & Braxton,

Today, we were released from the hospital. Mommy was very excited to bring you guys home. As we were placing you two in your car seats, your mom started crying. She was so happy and amazed at how little you guys are. As she was crying, she said "Those are my babies". The smile on her face was incredible. It was pure joy.


You guys rode in the car for the first time today, and we brought your home. It was an awesome experience. It made everything a little more real. You guys were coming home, and we were a family. It was the greatest joy to hold the two of in your room. Finally...our family was at home...Home Sweet Home.

video
I love you guys.

Love,
Dad 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scared Straight...

Dear Boston and Braxton,

Last night started out great. Mommy started feeling better, and you two were sleeping peacefully. Mom and I were able to enjoy a wonderful steak dinner as we celebrated your births. It was pretty awesome even though Mommy dropped some steak on Braxton.

After our delicious dinner, we watched a movie and settled in for some sleep. But, the sleep was limited. Boston and Braxton...you both screamed all night long. It was non-stop for the better part of five hours. Needless to say, Mommy and I were scared. We weren't sure if we were going to survive. Each time one of you feel asleep, the other one would started screaming. We didn't sleep more than an hour. It was a rough night. The next day, we found out you guys weren't eating enough and that is why you were so upset. We were so relieved, but for a moment...you guys had us scared straight.

I love you boys!

Love,
Dad

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The First Time...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

Yesterday was incredible. It was absolutely the most amazing day of my entire life. I couldn't imagine life getting much better, but I have a feeling that my life is going to get better every day as I watch you two grow. I cannot wait to see all of your firsts.

Yesterday, you boys took your first breaths. Yesterday, you boys screamed for the fist time. Yesterday, you took your first leak and filled your pants for the first time.

And, yesterday, for the first time I laid my eyes on the two most handsome boys in the world.

Yesterday, for the first time, I became a dad.

Never before have I felt such love. Never before have I felt such happiness. Never before have I felt closer to my Heavenly Father. And, never before have I felt such pure unconditional love for your mother. My love for her grew more than I could ever imagine. People won't understand. They cannot understand. One cannot fathom how much more love can grow until you bring a child into the world together. I loved your mother on June 11th, 2012...but on June 12th, 2012, I loved your mother more than I EVER thought possible.

It is like Brad Paisley says "I thought I loved you then".



Then for me was two days ago because today I love her more than ever before.

I cannot wait for all the firsts that are to come. I cannot wait for first steps, first words, and all the other firsts.



For mom and I, yesterday changed our whole world. We both feel complete now, and it is a feeling tha we would never change. We are so happy to have our handsome, healthy, and incredible boys in our lives.


I cannot stop looking at you guys and hold you guys. I feel so blessed. I love that you two are in our lives and will be for all time and eternity.


Jessica Benson snapped all the pictures in the collage above and the slideshow below less than 30 hours after you two were born. She is an amazing photographer.

Life is good and I am so happy.

Love,
Dad

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Life Began Today...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

Today was the greatest day of my life. I never knew the extent of joy and love that I could feel until today. I never knew life could be so sweet. My life completely changed today. I witnessed Heaven on Earth. And, I saw God today.


This post will be a jumble of emotion that may not be well put together. I am riding on cloud nine, and I am not sure how to express it. I do not really have the words to express the happiness, love, and gratitude that I am feeling at this time.

Words will be hard to come by as I share today's events, but I will do my best. Let me start by saying, I love you guys so very much. I love you two and your mother more than I could ever imagine. And, hopefully, this labor of love will come across that way.

****************

I didn't sleep more than a couple winks. I found myself starring at the clock as it slowly ticked. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like hours...

The clock showed 3:07 a.m. The time was moving far too slow. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. But, this time I knew the present was going to be the best one yet. Next to me, your beautiful mother had finally fallen asleep. She is so excited for today. And, in less than 2 hours, we will be preparing to leave for the hospital.

****************

We left for the hospital at 5:00 a.m. As we were driving in, I looked at your mom and asked her how she felt. She was overjoyed with excitement, but I could sense a tinge of nerves in her voice. We talked about how this was the LAST car ride that we would take with just the two of us for quite some time. For the foreseeable future, we will no longer be traveling with just the two of us. We talked about how on our next ride together there would be four of us in the car. It was a crazy thought.

When we arrived at the hospital, there was a nervous tension in the air. But, it was filled with excitement. The time had come. We had waited for this for so long, and it was finally here. As we sat in triage awaiting our instructions, we talked about how our lives were about to change. Your mother sat bravely awaiting her turn. She looked as beautiful as ever even though it was 5:50 in the morning.


Her smile today was the biggest I have ever seen. But, I bet each day you guys are here her smile will grow.

video

As the time came for mommy to be wheeled to the operating room approached, my heart began to pound. I was very excited, but I was also super nervous. I was worried about the safety of your mom. I was worried about the health of you two. It was about to be the most nerve racking and exciting day of my life.

It really hit me when the nurse told me to get ready to go and get dressed in my scrubs. For a few minutes, I got to pretend that I was Dr. Barrow. That's right...a real live doctor.
 
They wheeled your mom into the operating room, and I had to stand out in the hallway. They had to give your mom her epidural. To do this, the doctor has to stick a very large needle in her back. This is a spinal block that makes so she won't be able to feel the surgery she is going to have. I paced the hallway. As I did, all I could think was how all I cared about was that you boys and your mom were healthy. I have posted it before, but the song "All I Ask For Anymore" by Trace Adkins kept playing in my head.
 
I kept praying to our Heavenly Father that everything would go well. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity. When I went into the OR, tears filled my eyes as I say mommy laying on the table. I was nervous but excited at the same time. The time had finally come.
 
I sat next to your mom and spoke to her as they started her C-Section. I just talked to her about how much fun we were going to have with you guys. Before I knew it, the doctor told me to stand up. Now, anyone who knows your dad knows that I am a wimp when it comes to blood, needles, etc. Initially, when we found out mommy was pregnant, we weren't even sure if I would be able to be in the room for your birth. Anyways, I stood up and looked over the curtain just in time to see Braxton being pulled out of mommy's tummy.
 
Tears filled my eyes as I watched Braxton coming into the world. He was screaming and peeing everywhere. It was pretty awesome. I couldn't believe my first child was being born right before my eyes. As I watched Braxton in awe, I was tapped on the shoulder by the doctor. In an instant Boston was being pulled out, just a minute behind his brother. In less than two minutes, I had two sons. My boys were finally here.
 
video
 
I was able to cut both of your umbilical cords. And, the nurses finished cleaning you guys off. You were both screaming uncontrollable. The nurses moved you guys close together so we could take a picture. As you two were placed close to each other, Braxton reached up and grabbed Boston's hand. As he did, you both stopped crying and a peaceful aura filled the room. Tears filled every one's eyes and nurses went crazy as the silent room was in awe.

It was a moment that I will never forget. For everyone in that room, it was a moment for a lifetime. Two babies...fresh from heaven...peaceful holding hands.

video
We be sideways...

Then, one by one...each of you were brought to the side of your amazing, beautiful mother.
 
First was Braxton. I watched as your mommy's eyes filled with tears and she shared the biggest smile that I have ever seen,
Then, Boston was placed by her side. And, her tear filled eyes showed more happiness than I have ever seen. She had her two boys! Finally!

And, with that, I was whisked out of the room with my boys. I gave mommy a kiss, told her how amazing she ism and that I loved her...then I was off with our new bundles of joy.
 
Braxton, Boston, and I were moved to the wellness center where a nurse and I measured you guys. It was an awesome experience.
 
Braxton was born at 7:43 a.m.. You weighed 6 pounds, 15.5 ounces and were 19 inches long. You were a healthy baby. Incredible!
Boston was born at 7:44 a.m.. You weighed 5 pounds, 10.5 ounces and were 17 inches long. While a little smaller, Boston...you too were healthy.
 
We finally had our family. Two happy healthy boys that we had waited so long for.
 
We feel so blessed to have the two of you in our lives. It is incredible to know that Heavenly Father sent us two of his most precious angels. It is amazing to think that we have been entrusted with such wonderful responsibility. And, we cannot wait for the journey to begin.

Your mother has done an amazing job. I am indebted to her once again for the joy that she has brought to my life. She has sacrificed so much for all of us. She has given us our family.
 
She is the toughest, most beautiful, and amazing woman that I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
 
I love her with all my heart and we are all lucky to have here.
 
I have no words for the love and joy that I felt in those moments. It is a joy that one must feel on their own to truly know what I am talking about. Now, I know what my dad felt when I was born and the joy he felt. And, one day, I hope you experience the same joy as a son or daughter is born to you.
 

A man doesn't really know joy until he witnesses the birth of his own children. As of today at 7:44 a.m., I know what true love, amazing happiness, and pure gratitude is. As of 7:44 a.m., my life truly began. And, I wouldn't have it any other way.
 
I cannot wait to be your dad. I cannot wait to see you with your mom. I cannot wait to watch you two grow into the amazing men I know you will become.
 
My life began today...
 
Love,
Dad

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tomorrow...

Dear Boston & Braxton,

In less than 6 hours, I will be holding you boys in my arms. I cannot wait to finally have my boys. It is so exciting that we will finally have our family. Your mom and I are so excited. It is like the night before Christmas. We will not be able to sleep as we are super antsy to meet you. It is almost 11 p.m., and in just a few hours, we will be traveling to the hospital. As I think about it, I cannot help but feel a very deep love for your mother. She is a special woman, and I am lucky to have her in my life. She is going to be an incredible mother.

I wanted to share a small portion of a letter that I plan on giving to your mother in the morning. But, before I share it with you...please know that I love your mother very much. She is an amazing woman. She is the love of my life, and I am proud to call her my wife.

***************************

"...With that, a real life fairy tale began. Ours is a fairy tale where an undeserving man lands the fairest princess in his dreams. It is one where love knows no end."

"People come and go...things change...but the one constant is my love for you. As the days pass, I love you more and more. And, just when I think I couldn't love you anymore...I do."

"Little did I know how much happiness you would bring me. Little did I know how much love you would share with me."

"A day in October changed our world forever just like your smile, laugh, and kiss changed mine seven years earlier. When you uttered two words, I experienced a joy like any other. When you told me the news, I cried like never before. And, the news just kept getting better and better. I have watched for the past nine months as you plugged along with a smile. I watched in awe as you grew our two sons without complaining. As I watched you, my love for you grew to unimaginable heights."

"And, when I watch you hold our handsome boys, I will be overcome with a love for her like never before. It will be a love that will fill my heart until it is ready to burst."

"And, like the smile, like the laugh, like the kiss...it will forever change my life. And, I will love you like never before...deeper and more unconditionally than you can imagine."

"Babe, I love you so much. Words cannot describe my love for you. Where can I even begin? You are the love of my life. You are the woman of my dreams. You are my soul mate, my eternal companion, and my best friend. You are the woman that is giving me the greatest gift on Earth...love, happiness, and two amazing boys. Tomorrow, you will once again change my life forever. And, I cannot wait."

"You are so incredibly strong. You will do great. I cannot wait to see you hold our boys in your arms. You are going to be the best mom, and I am feel so blessed that I get to share parenthood with you. I couldn't pick a better person to go on this journey with. I'm so happy that just under 8 years ago a smile and a laugh changed my life. An, a kiss sent my once collapsing world spinning into paradise."

"I love you with all my heart. You are my everything, my angel, my perfection, the love of my life, my beautiful wife. As long as I am living and even long after that...I will love you!"

***************************

I shared that with you because I want you to know how special your mom is to me. She will be special to you two also.

As the time has flown by, I have watched you boys grow. I have seen you guys get bigger in ultrasounds, and I have stood by as your mommy's belly has gotten bigger as you have grown. It is hard to believe that there are two of you in her belly.


From 18 weeks to just short of 38 weeks...

You guys have grown and will be here so soon. It is still hard to believe. I feel like I am rambling, but I am just so excited. I am going to be a dad. We are going to be a family, and your guys are going to have the best mom around.

I love you guys and cannot wait for tomorrow.

Love,
Dad

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time is Love...

Dear Boston and Braxton,

In less than 48 hours, I will be holding the two of you in my arms. And, I simply cannot wait to see the smile on your mother's face. She has wanted this for a very long time. She can hardly wait any longer. We are so excited for our family to begin.

It is funny how people sit and tell you all the difficult parts of parenthood. Few like to tall you about the joys of parenthood. People love to talk about how you won't sleep anymore, how your house will be a mess, and how you have no time for yourself. These people irritate me beyond belief. We know it is going to be difficult. We know it will be a struggle. But, the joy that comes out of it far outweighs the struggles. Like Papi says, "Children are a blessing in disguise." But, that disguise has the ability to bring out the greatest of emotions in a person. And, that is what I am looking forward to the most.

The other day, I was thinking about how important Nana and Papi were and are in my life. Throughout my life, there have always been there for me.

Time is love. Life gets crazy, but I think the most important thing in life is family. Spending time with your family is so important. And, in our family, time is love.


Love,
Dad

Saturday, June 09, 2012

ESCAPEY...

I backed out of the driveway in a hurry. For a moment, I sat idly in the middle of the road as Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" began to blast through the speakers of my Dodge Journey.

At the top of his lungs, Ozzy shouted, "ALLLLL ABBBBBOOOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRDDDDDDDDDDDDDD".

With that, I revved the V4 engine of my SUV that was often mistaken for a mini van. The engine purred like a small cat on a low dose of steroids. And, like a foam ball being shot from a Nerf gun, I was off. Faster than a Power Wheel, quicker than a caterpillar, and more speedy than a geriatric with a walker, I sped away. With so many thoughts running through my head, I was not sure how to process them all.

How was I going to be able to handle TWO babies? Two babies at the same time? This couldn't be happening...

With panic overcoming me, my hands shook as I barely dodged a small boy on a blue Huffy bike. He screamed and crashed into some bushes as I jetted past. The gate began to close attempting to halter my escape. It jaws were getting closer and closer together. I slammed my foot down on the accelerator. My V4 engine shot the car forward with a tiny burst of power similar to a midget on Redbull. Suddenly, a speed bump sent my Journey airborne. It was like a scene from a movie. You know, the one where the car gets two inches off the ground for a split second?! Yeah, that was me.

My thoughts overwhelmed me again. The diapers, the crying, the dying umbilical cords...

It was simply too much. My current mission returned to the forefront of my senses as I narrowly missed the closing gate. How far could I get on the contents of my pockets alone? And, what other treasures were in my getaway vehicle? I couldn't use the credit cards or the bank accounts. I needed to leave her with something. I pulled off the road and into the dirt lot on the corner. The anxiety was too much! I began to hyperventilate. My stomach was in knots, and my heart was pounding. Sweat was pouring from my brow. My eyes began to burn as beads of sweat somehow found their way into my eyes. Or were they tears? I really didn't know.

What was going to happen to Marley? I couldn't just leave him behind. He would be crushed. I would be crushed. We were like Mike & Ike, Mickey Mouse & Pluto, and Unicorns & Glitter. We were inseperable. But, TWO BABIES?! I guess I could just text my dad. He would take care of him. As for Mouse, she is a street rat...she is feisty enough to take care of herself.

I popped the hatch of the SUV and emptied my pockets. The contents of which included a tube of chapstick, a Justin Beiber "Never Say Never" ticket stub, a pack of Fruit Stripes gum, two Tootsie Roll wrappers, an iPhone, and a small collection of Presidential friends. I had a Jackson, a Hamilton, a couple Lincolns, and a small army of Washingtons. With all of this, I couldn't get far. But, then I spotted it. My saving grace.

In the back seat, I spotted my wife's purse. It was just sitting there in all its glory. I could live out of that thing for weeks. It was filled with granola bars, Swiss Cake Rolls, a bag of pretzels, and a handful of other snacks. It contained food storage for a small family.

I was relieved. I jumped back it to the pilot's seat and peeled out as rocks and dust shot up in the air. As I did, I began to debate on where to escape to. ESCAPE...haha...that's funny...it is spelled just like ESCAPE.


Escapey

Mexico or Canada? The weather is beautiful in both locations. I looked at my pasty complexion in the rear view mirror as I slowly thought to myself in Spanish...Yo necesito un tano. Yeah, my Spanish is excelente. My Spanish is topo notcho. My decision was made. I was going to become a residente de Mexico. But, prior to my journey south...I needed to stop for a Chicken Soft Taco. I needed to carbo-load for my trip. So, I pulled into Del Taco for a snack. After all, Mexico is a long ways away. I began to order item after item, but as Sabrina read back my order, I was shocked to find it was nothing I wanted. Heck, I don't even like Del Taco. My order was everything my beautiful wife usually ordered on my dreaded trips to the mediocre taco shack.

And, with that, I knew right where I should be. So, yes...Del Taco saved my marriage. It kept me from escaping...

And, in the end, I returned home because I knew that with her is right where I should be. Plus, I wasn't going to waste a Del Combo Burrito...

At least, until the next time I get in the car...


Friday, June 08, 2012

A Love Like That...

Today was a difficult day for friends and family of John Donnelly. This morning, we honored the life of John as he was laid to rest at the Boulder City Cemetery. Friends and family gathered to mourn and remember our fallen brother while sharing loving, emotional, and hysterical stories about John. And, some of the men who knew John best stood before hundreds to express their love and heart felt condolences for him. It was truly an incredible service, one deserving of a man like John.

John was my uncle, and a man that I truly admired. But, in all honesty, I did not know John as well as I would have liked. Out of the Barrow clan, I knew the least. But, that was one of the most amazing things about John...you didn't have to know him well or speak with him long for him to make an impact on you. He definitely made a big impact on me in spite of the limited time we spent together.

Times of loss are difficult. Everyone handles loss differently. Everyone mourns in his/her own way. But, for me, I do not mourn for John. For John is in a better place. John IS a good man. I say "IS" because John now has eternal life. I would never say "WAS" because John is still with us. His untimely passing may have taken his body and mind from us, but his spirit is still with us. He lives with his Father in Heaven now, and the memory of John will never leave us. This is why I do not mourn for John.

And, in the words of J.M. Barrie (Author of Peter Pan), "To die will be an awfully big adventure."

John has begun the next leg of his adventure...and, it is the biggest yet.

The knowledge that I have of Christ, his atonement, and his redeeming sacrifice makes this easier for me. While we don't understand now why John was taken from this Earth, we will one day. Our Heavenly Father has a plan, and his plan was in need of John. For some reason, John was needed in Heaven.

I mourn for this whom lost John. I mourn for Josh, Brenna, Jessica, and Caitie. I mourn for Karen. I mourn for Joe and Rhea. I cannot imagine their feelings. But, when I feel sorrow...I think of John reuniting with Liz in Heaven. I think of him holding his unborn grandchildren. I thinking of Liz and him, smiling together as they hold my boys before they come to Earth on Tuesday. I can picture him sharing some last minute council as my boys sit on his knee. And, for that, I have reason to rejoice.

"While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet  him behind the veil."
-John Taylor

Out of times of hardship, a closeness can grow. Strength comes from adversity. And life lessons are taught. While I can never truly express my full love for the Donnelly family, while I can never truly feel their sorrow, and while I can never truly understand why this had to occur...I know that they, as a collective group, are some of the strongest people I know. They will come out of this stronger than before. They will triumph over death, and one day they will be with John again.

Because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, families can be together forever. The Son of God humbled himself, came to this Earth, suffered and died for all of us. A love like that is hard to fathom...a love that stands the test of time, is unconditional, and is an example to us all.

Today, I witnessed the greatest example of love that I have personally seen in my young life. This experience is difficult to put into words, but I will try.

As the family was preparing for the funeral to begin, we joined together to pay our last respects and share a prayer for John. Roses were passed around as family members shared their final moments with John, sharing their own personal message of love. And, during this time, a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life happened. This is a moment that I will NEVER forget...a moment that brought tears to my eyes. It was a moment that made me love my grandparents and parents more. It was a moment that changed the way I will think of and treat my wife for the rest of my life. It was a moment with "a love like that"...

I cannot do justice to what "that" is. It is something that you have to experience. Tears are already in my eyes...so bear with me.

The first rose was given to John's beautiful mother, my great grandma, Rhea. At 92, Rhea made her way to where he son lay. Tears already in her eyes, she spoke to her son and laid a rose on his chest. There was not a dry eye in the room. As she was coming to a close of her final moments with John, she appeared to break down. As she did, I saw tears fill John's dad's eyes. As quickly as he could, my great grandpa, Joe, made his way to her side. At 94, it may not have been quick, but one could tell he was rushing to be by her side. After 72 years of marriage, Joe still couldn't stand to see his beautiful bride suffering. He took her in his arms, whispered to her (which was quite loud), and held her. In that moment, my heart went from being broken to completely full. In that moment, I learned once again what TRUE LOVE is. In that moment, an unconditional example of love was displayed for everyone in the room. It is something I will never forget. It is something that reminded me of just how great a man Joe is. It is something that reminded me to strive to be a better man. It is an example of how I need to treat my wife.

For 72 plus years and for all eternity, I know Joe will love Rhea...he has, does, and will always "Love Like Crazy".
I am so thankful to have such an amazing example of love in my life. I will make my love for my wife..."A Love Like That"!
As hard as the day was, the privilege that I had to witness such an amazing love let me know that everything was going to be alright for everyone there. It will take some time...but, in the end...everything will be alright.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Plans Change...

Sometimes, plans change! And, sometimes...they change for the better.

So, I lied! But, sooner is better than letter.

I will get to hold my boys earlier than I imagined. In just over 4 days, we will have our own set of identical twin Barrow boys!

Let the journey of chaos begin!

I love it and I cannot wait!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

It Will...

Dear Boston Jammer & Braxton Parker,

Where has the time gone? Seriously?!! It seems like it was just yesterday when your mother excitedly handed me a pair of Baby Jordan's and told me that she was pregnant. And, it seems like it was just hours ago that we found out we were having identical twin boys. And, now...the time has almost arrived.

That's right...in a little over 7 days, our little family will grow by 20 fingers and 20 toes. In just 180 hours, we will go from 2 to 4. In less than 10,850 minutes, I will see the two of you being held by your beautiful mother for the first time. And, in less than 651,034 seconds, I will proudly hold my sons for the first time.

It takes longer for your mom to decide what she is going to wear. Trips to the mall take longer. Heck, it may even take longer to make chili in the crock pot.

In a little over a week, we will go from thinking our family is complete TO actually being a complete. In a little over a week, we will be a family. 

It is hard to believe that in such a short amount of time I will officially be a DAD! And, not just a DAD of ONE, but a DAD of TWO. Just in time for Father's Day too! I couldn't ask for a better gift. I cannot wait to see, hold, and bring the two of you home for the first time.

There have been moments in my life when I felt it couldn't get any better. When I was in high school, I felt like I was on top of the world and life wouldn't get any better. But...it did! Then, I met your mother and I didn't think life could get any better. But...it did! And, when I married your mother, I definitely didn't think it could get any better. But...it did!

And, on the 14th of June, I won't question if life will get any better.

Because for the first time in my life, I already know the answer.

It will...

Love,
Dad
 


PS: More than 7, but less than 8.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Something To Be Proud Of...

Dear Boston & Braxton,
 
Today, I was reminded of just how fragile life is. I was reminded that the moments that we most often think of as surreal are usually the ones that encompass reality. Reality can be amazing, but it can also be very harsh. And, today...more than ever...I was reminded of that lesson.
 
Life is fragile. We are only given the special gift of life on this Earth for a short time. So...

Cherish life. Enjoy life. Love life.
 
Share love with those around you. Never let them question your love for them. Be some one's heart and let them be yours. Love like it will never end.
 
Forgive and forget. A grudge is something one should never hold onto. Because you never know when the end is.
 
Be remembered for the good you brought into this world. Make a positive impact on someone everyday. Dream big because you never know which ones will come true. Make wishes at 11:11, and do it with hope in your heart.
 
Laugh at yourself. Amaze yourself. Love yourself.
 
Don't forget to smile. Don't forget to laugh. Don't forget your life is a gift!
 
Be important...because you are important to someone.
 
Be special...because you are special to someone.
 
Be loved...because you are loved by someone.
 
You are important to me. You are special to me. And, I love you!
 
And, that is something to be proud of...


"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."
-James Dean

Love,
Dad

Monday, June 04, 2012

The John I'll Always Remember...

Words can never express the true feelings that reside inside the heart. The jumbling of emotions is always difficult to truly depict. But, the idea of not trying just doesn’t sit well with me. These words will fall short, but they do not do any good sitting dormant in our hearts.

For as long as I can remember, he called me “Jammer”. He would always yell out my name with gusto. In my experience, he was not a quiet man. His boisterous voice would bellow out his overwhelming passion for life as his large, warm smile sat partially hidden beneath a goatee that he would often rub with a worn hand. He was a stubborn man...but what man isn’t. He was a man who probably knew a little too much…but what man doesn’t.

For me, the sight of an iron fence will bring back a smile. A game of Risk will give me a laugh. A hike through the desert will make my heart skip a beat. Pairs of worn work boots will make me think of his children. And, a summer trip to the cabin will bring out a sense of gratitude and love for a man that we all were blessed to know.

He IS a son who brought joy to the faces of his parents, a husband who brought love to two special hearts, a father who taught life lessons and worked tirelessly to provide, a grandfather that adored his little granddaughters, a brother who teased the sisters and brother he loved, and a friend that was eager to share a funny face and an unforgettable laugh.

His spirit lives on in the hearts of his incredible children and the laughs of his beautiful grandchildren. And, a piece of his heart will always reside in his labor of love, the Donnelly Family cabin. And, from Heaven, he is smiling down and making that same funny face at all of us.

He is a man of the Lord who blessed this world with his spirit. His faith and testimony strengthened others. He preached, he taught, and he learned. And, in the end, he is with his Father in Heaven. I can picture his boisterous spirit clad in camo and shouting “open sesame” as he stands at the Pearly Gates. And, he won’t stop until they OPEN! After all, he is and always will be a Donnelly.

And, that’s the John I’ll always remember…

Friday, June 01, 2012

Someone Who Would Die For You...

Boys,

Earlier this week we talked about Memorial Day and its extreme importance. We are so lucky to have men and women who serve/have served in our Armed Forces. We need to remember to thank those who are willing to sacrifce and serve.

Your Uncle B is in the Army Reserve, and we are very proud of him. He is serving his country, and we are grateful for that. He likes to be modest and push it aside like it is no big deal, but he has made sacrifices for all of us. He sacrifices being away from your cousins in order to serve. We are proud to have a soldier to call our very own.


So, remember to always thank a soldier...because any time you see one, you just saw someone who would die for you.



Love,
Dad