2015, From My Perspective

2015, From My Perspective

Whew, 2015. In global terms, it’s been a pretty bleak year. Political correctness has been the most annoying thing this year, in my opinion. I have heard more complaining about everything being “offensive” this year alone than I have in my entire collective 32 years of life. It’s ridiculous. Among that so many other negative things happened throughout the year — it has just felt like this whole 2015 year was just one giant downward spiral. I really really hope that 2016 brings happier times!

But from our own little piece of the world, 2015 has been really good to us! We’ve made so many awesome memories with our families and friends, we’ve listened to a lot of great live music, reconnected with a friend I’ve missed for a few years, and we met a beautiful new addition to our friends’ family <3 Always thankful for the time spent with our family and friends!

Below is a visual look back at some of those awesome memories of ours from this year:

New Back Porch Construction started!
Our new back porch!

 

Sophie Turned 7!

We made cupcakes with mommy 🙂

 

Phoenix got a brace for his “trigger thumb”

 

SNOW! Lot’s of it!


The porch is finished!

 

First cookout with friends on our new porch!

 

Tennessee Aquarium with Friends!

Watched “Home” at the theater with Aunt “Jenniper”!

 

Our First Time Dying Easter Eggs

 

Easter Egg Hunting!

 

Riding Our New Balance Bikes!

 

Kingston’s 1st Haircut!

 

Birmingham Zoo Trip!

May

Beale Street Music Festival 2015 With FRANDS!

 

2 Year Old Pics

 

Gender Reveal Party for Daryl & Megan’s New Addition! *IT’S A GIRL!*

 

New Mumford Album!

 

Disney’s Frozen on Ice!

 

Our first time at the Glencoe Splash Pad!

Jurassic World! SO MUCH YES!

 

Our New “Clubhouse”!

 

My Rad Father’s Day Gifts!

 

“Inside Out” at the Theater!

 

Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the sky during June

The Inaugural Slossfest with Friends!


 

Stained the Porch

 

Painted the boys’ bathroom and turned it into a Dinosaur Bathroom!

 

Minions Movie!

 

Started painting the boys’ Big Boy room

Had 2 beds built by the super-talented Zack Wagnon, and painted by Alicia and myself 🙂

 

Finished the Big Boy Room!

 

Sawyer’s 3rd Birthday Party!

Making Homemade Cookies with Mommy!

 

A family movie night outside on the porch!

Our first trip to Build-A-Bear! We got a Zombie Bear & a Bat Bear!

Pumpkin Patch!

 

Had a blast painting pumpkins!

 

Our first time making S’mores!

 

Korn with my buddy Jason! They performed their first album in its entirety!

 

We got to meet the beautiful and sweet Miss Audrey Henson <3

 

Disney Celebration on Ice! They had a whole Halloween / Nightmare Before Christmas part and the boys LOVED it!

 

Cleaned out our own pumpkins and daddy carved them

 

Halloween & Trick Or Treating with our Buddy Sawyer and little miss Audrey (not pictured)!

Went to see Santa and told him we wanted a T-Rex for Christmas 🙂

 

Went to see The Good Dinosaur!

Christmas Lights at the Falls

 

Christmas get together with the Hensons!

 

Christmas get together with the Tingles!

 

Christmas Lights in Ballplay

 

The Boys’ 3rd Birthday Party

 

Happy Birthday, boys <3

 

Christmas Family Photo

 

Driving Our Jeeps 🙂

My 2015 Mix

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Each year I create a new playlist and I will throw in all the music that myself and/or my wife fall in love with throughout that year. This music either came out this year, music that we got hooked on in 2015, or music that we revisited and got hooked on once again. Track list below:


01. Mumford & Sons – Believe
02. Mumford & Sons – The Wolf
03. Fall Out Boy – Uma Thurman
04. Purity Ring – Begin Again
05. AWOLNATION – Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)
06. Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun
07. The High Strung – The Luck You Got
08. Marilyn Manson – The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles
09. Marilyn Manson – Cupid Carries a Gun
10. Marilyn Manson – Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
11. The Airborne Toxic Event – One Time Thing
12. Jimmy Eat World – My Best Theory
13. Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
14. AWOLNATION – Windows
15. Death Cab for Cutie – The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
16. The Black Keys – Weight of Love
17. Imagine Dragons – Warriors
18. Hozier – Take Me to Church
19. Hozier – Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
20. Hozier – Jackie and Wilson
21. Hozier – Someone New

22. Hozier – Work Song
23. Of Monsters and Men – Crystals
24. Breaking Benjamin – Failure
25. Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford – Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)
26. Of Monsters and Men – I of the Storm
27. Mumford & Sons – Hot Gates
28. Starset – My Demons
29. Cat Power – Werewolf
30. Hozier – Arsonist’s Lullabye
31. I Prevail – Blank Space
32. Devour the Day – Good Man
33. SycAmour – We’re in Hell
34. Sevendust – Thank You
35. Atreyu – Start to Break
36. Purity Ring – Flood on the Floor
37. Cage the Elephant – Cigarette Daydream
38. Cage the Elephant – Come a Little Closer
39. The Vespers – Sisters and Brothers
40. Modest Mouse – Float On
41. Modest Mouse – The World at Large
42. Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty
43. Modest Mouse – Dashboard
44. The Avett Brothers – Live and Die

From our family to yours, we wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016!

This World that Our Children Will Inherit…

This World that Our Children Will Inherit…

Today another “mass shooting” has taken place in the United States. Apparently there have been more shootings per day in 2015 than there have been days of the year so far. That’s not a good statistic. The mainstream media’s talking points either continually steer us toward enforcing more gun control, push a political agenda, or they instill fear in us from a specific ethnicity, religion, or group. It’s always trying to guide us or pit us against each other, divide us in every way. Every single day there’s more atrocities committed that they are more than happy to fill us in on, over and over until we can pretty much recite the whole dialog by heart. And I’m tired of listening to it…

This is today’s world though. Fear everything. Complain if anything offends you, no matter how minor it is. “This is the beginning of World War III” — “We’re living in the end times.” Be too afraid to venture out and live your life, “just keep fixated to this television screen and listen to us and you’ll be alright.” *wink and smile*

I’m a huge tech enthusiast but honestly I’m so sick of the world we live in today. I would /love/ for us to go back to a time where we weren’t bombarded by all of this constant propaganda and fearmongering every time we look at our phone, tablet, computer, or television screens, even if it’s just for a second. I wish I were raising my children during the time period my parents raised me, or even better, back when they were being raised. Back when we Americans helped each other, when we had respect for our elders, when we were courteous, when we all actually gave a crap about our country and its morals, back when we could say “God Bless America” and not worry about  “offending” someone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so naive that I think that life was perfect back then — we’re talking about humans here, everything we adult-versions of our species do usually yields a total fail — but our country as a whole definitely had a lot more values back then, and at least wasn’t so flipping sensitive about everything. Back then your word was your bond, and that was something that actually held true. That doesn’t exist today, unless you get it in writing…and even then, sometimes they can weasel out of it. And that is sad. Everyone wants to screw everyone else over to get more, have more, make more…

I’ve been sick with a pretty gnarly chest cold for going on 5 days now and you know what my almost-three-year-old boys worry about every morning?: “Daddy, you not sick anymore??” That’s what they’ve asked me every-single-morning this week so far, as well as multiple times throughout the day each day. If I say “nah guys, I’m still not feeling well” do you know how they respond? They kiss me on the head or the arm and go “There, I make you feel better, daddy.” That’s what we’re missing in this world.

These boys, like all innocent children, have a genuine love and compassion for others. They want everyone around them to be happy and healthy at all times, even if they don’t understand the ins-and-outs of what goes into all of that to make it happen. They just love — simply and genuinely. Our children don’t have a warped opinion of different races because they don’t understand the differences yet and we don’t draw attention to it because race doesn’t matter to us. We don’t teach our boys to hate anyone — in fact, “hate” is not a word we even use in our household. They don’t judge anyone for their political beliefs, how they feel about climate change, what clothes they wear, or what new gadgets they have or don’t have. They might be shy around you at first, but after they warm up to you they will more than likely offer you one of their toys to play with because they enjoy sharing. We even made a Christmas gift box for a child over seas this year and let the boys pick out some gifts to put in it — they were so happy and eager to help. The only thing they didn’t understand about it was why they couldn’t go give it to the child right then, themselves.

That is what our world is missing. That totally unbiased, 100% non-judgmental, pure heartfelt desire to give + the genuine urge to do good in the world that only an innocent child truly possesses.

Oh how I wish we could all put aside our differences and just love one another, help each other, and get through this life together.<3

What I’m Thankful For

What I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Of course we should all be thankful for our blessings daily, but this day is a day we specifically set aside to remember all of the things we are thankful for, so here are a few things on my list.

First off, I have to say that the older I get the more these holidays mean to me — being with family and making memories with your loved ones, I’ve learned that those things are what life is really about, and I’m super thankful for that realization.

family

I’m thankful for my children. After everything we went through to get pregnant and all of the time we spent wondering if we would ever be able to have children, they are a blessing every single day. And on top of that, I’m thankful that we are able to work jobs where we can each spend time with them at home throughout the week. We’ve both been able to be there as they reach each milestone of their development, and we’ve both been able to be actively present in their lives since the day they were born. I can’t thank God enough for that. I’m thankful that we’re raising sweet, thoughtful, and respectful children. It’s hard work, but it’s worth every bit of it when you hear them say “Thank you Daddy/Mommy” when you do something for them, or when they ask for “one more hug” at night before bed, even if it’s because they’re just not wanting to go to sleep yet 🙂

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I’m thankful for my wife. Alicia and I dated on and off from the 6th grade on, and that type of relationship is pretty rare. We sincerely share almost all of our interests and we joke that we share the same brain because we think almost the exact same way. When something happens that I’m happy about, she’s the first person I want to talk to. When I’m upset about something, I immediately want to tell her about it. I’m extremely thankful for her. For how great of a mother she is. For how supportive of a wife she is, and that she wanted to be with me for the rest of her life.

wife

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My sister is 9 years older than me and yet we have an incredibly close relationship, which I think is pretty rare. She’s always helped take care of me and look out for me all throughout my life. She’s a voice of reason when I need it, and I know that I can always count on her when I need her. When Jurassic Park (the original) came out I was obsessed with dinosaurs — I remember back then that she used to take me to get lunch at McDonald’s and then take me to the movies to watch it….and she did this over and over countless times because I loved that movie so much and she loved seeing how happy it made me. I’m thankful to have her, and I’m thankful to have an awesome brother-in-law that loves her and takes care of her.

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My wife and I have had our niece and 2 of our nephews staying with us since last Friday, and we’re both extremely thankful that even though they’ve gotten older, they still actually enjoy hanging out with us now that they’re all teenagers. 😉 We’ve watched these kids teenagers grow from tiny babies into these incredible individuals with really great heads on their shoulders and we love love love any chance we get to spend with them.

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I’m thankful for my parents. I, like most teenagers, put them through so much crap back when I was a (punk) teenager, and I’m thankful they stuck it out until I finally realized that I didn’t actually know everything that there was to know about the world after all. 🙂 I’m thankful to have grown up in a house where I always knew I was loved, and I’m thankful that they taught me how to make others feel loved. I’m thankful for my Dad who has always worked so hard to provide for his family. I’m thankful that he has always loved and treated my sister and I like we were his own kids, because no matter what, we are.

parents

I’m thankful for my grandparents. Most of them were taken from us way too soon and I really wish that we would have had more time together, but I’m extremely thankful for all of the memories that I do have of them. I miss them like crazy. I’m super thankful for Mamaw Drenner, and that our boys were able to meet her and are able to have her in their lives <3 grandparents

I’m thankful for my in-laws, for bringing my wife into this world and for raising her to be the woman she is today. I’m thankful for them and their side of the family for accepting me and making me feel welcome in the family. I’m thankful that I got to meet Alicia’s grandparents, her Uncle Phillip, and her Aunt Barbara and spend time with them before they passed. They were all really incredible people, and I’m blessed to have known them, and I miss them too <3

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I sincerely hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with your family and/or friends, making even more memories to be thankful for.

 

10 Reasons Dads Should NEVER Be Allowed to “Babysit” Their Own Kids

10 Reasons Dads Should NEVER Be Allowed to “Babysit” Their Own Kids

My wife shared a post on Facebook the other day of an article stating that everyone should stop calling it “babysitting” when dad’s have their kids without mom being around. She and I are on the same page when it comes to all of this — we share the responsibilities of our kids (and everything else in our lives) because we are a team. When it comes to kids though, we are both parents — not a mom and a babysitter, but a mom and a dad.

But hey, I totally get it, guys. Dads are awful at caring for our kids. You should never trust that we’ll take care of them because it just won’t happen. If you don’t believe me, just see the examples below:

1. Dads CAN. NOT. be trusted to hold fragile babies.

holding-babies

2. There’s no way we can feed a baby. Especially 2 of them at once.

feeding-1

3. If you think we can dress our kids, you’d be badly mistaken. They wouldn’t look cool or match at all.

dressed

4. We are 100% incapable of encouraging artistic creativity in our little ones

creativity-2

5. Or teaching them about music appreciation

music-appreciation-1

music-app-2

6. Or really,  teaching them anything, like working with them on their shapes and colors

Shapes & Colors

7. We definitely can’t get kids down for nap by ourselves

naps

8. We DO NOT possess the ability to make our kids happy at all

fun fun-1

9. Seriously. Zero fun can be had with us. For reals.

no-fun

10. See what I mean? Dads are basically just useless at parenting.

worst-1
worst-2
worst-3

 

2014, From My Perspective

2014, From My Perspective

Wow, it’s already 2015! The years really do seem to just keep flying by the older I get…Here’s a recap of what happened in our lives over the last year:


1 Year Old CheckupOne Year Old Checkups!

IMG_6951Phoenix’s First Big Boo-Boo *sadface*

Kingston's SurgeryKingston’s 1st Surgery — He had a Nevus Sebaceous removed.

IMG_7026Kingston’s 1st surgery day ended up being his & Phoenix’s First Snow Day too!

1900020_10152201822306900_1849484765_n We learned how awesome it is to smush your face up to glass and make funny faces!

1610056_10152209035156900_1913981681_nWe were a couple of Heart Breakers on Our 2nd Valentine’s Day

IMG_8049We started our Etsy Store called Chunky Rocket Designs!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe learned how to climb into Mommy & Daddy’s chairs…and took them over.

Our first trip (of many!) to Noccalula Falls!

We’ve got a bunch of teeth now and started learning how to keep them healthy, shiny, and white!

IMG_8850 Our first Easter Egg Hunt!

IMG_8496After 15 months of squeezing into our tiny car with twins, we finally upgraded to an SUV!

May

10325517_10102238391707145_1323652574576768206_nWent to the Beale Street Music Festival for our second time with these awesome people and had a blast!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe even got to meet and have our picture made with Grouplove!

memphisEnjoyed hanging out on Beale Street and we even made our way to Gus’s and had THE BEST fried chicken we’ve ever had in our lives, hands down!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetOur First Trip to the Georgia Aquarium!

lillyAnd while we were there, we saw Alyson Hannigan with her kids and I got the stank eye from the lady that was with her, lol. We wanted to get a picture with her, but chose not to ask because we didn’t want to disturb her while she was spending time with her kids. It was still super awesome to see her though!

may02-mothersdayWe celebrated our 2nd Mother’s Day

mayWe had fun at our cousin Rylan’s Birthday Party

may03We slid down the slide at Grandy & Grandmaw’s house for the first time

brewfestWent to the Magic City Brewfest with Daryl & Megan and had a BLAST!

fathersdayCelebrated our 2nd Father’s Day

Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset18-Month Checkups!

IMG_5241We were honored to be asked to do a Guest Blog Post on TallMomTinyBaby.com about “What is Chunky Rocket”

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetWe started learning how to problem solve as a team, lol.

Sprinkler I built a sprinkler out of PVC pipe and we had a blast with it all summer long!

Sprinkler

4th of July We went for our first ride in Papa’s Gator and LOVED it!

FireworksWe really enjoyed the fireworks on the 4th of July too!

Tyler & Graysons BirthdayWe had a ton of fun playing in the water at Tyler and Grayson’s Birthday Party!

dentist Our First Visit to the Dentist

My incredible wife surprised me with tickets to see Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden on our “Date Night”

Sawyer's 2nd BirthdayHad a blast at our best-buddy Sawyer’s 2nd Birthday!

Rise Against!For our Anniversary, I got us tickets to see Rise Against and planned an overnight stay in Atlanta

Pumpkin PatchOur first trip to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out our own pumpkins!

making-cookiesWe “made” cookies with mommy for the first time!

halloweenWe had a BLAST trick-or-treating with our buddy Sawyer!

Daryl's BirthdayWe helped celebrate Daryl’s oldness with a surprise party!

cadens-birthday Had a blast at our buddy Caden’s birthday party!

IMG_4860Our new twin nephews Logan and Colin arrived!

IMG_4942Thanksgiving was nomtastic

santaThe boys didn’t cry with Santa this year! They didn’t smile either, but hey, pick your battles, lol.

zooWe went to the zoo for the first time, and went with our buddy Sawyer!

IMG_5184The lighting ceremony for the Glencoe Lights was awesome!

01Built our first fort!

02Phoenix’s 1st Haircut!

03The boys had an awesome Christmas! Santa brought them some rad gifts!

04

We helped decorate our birthday cupcakes!

05We got some awesome new 4-wheelers!

06We went to our first movie at a theater, and made it through the entire movie!

10426101_10204601857180137_6332612286009319298_nAnd finally, we brought in the new year by celebrating with friends and shooting fireworks!”

 


 

My 2014 Mix

Each year I create a new playlist and I will throw in all the music that myself and/or my wife fall in love with throughout that year. This music either came out in 2014 or that we got hooked on in 2014. Track list below:


01. OneRepublic – Counting Stars
02. Taking Back Sunday – Flicker, Fade
03. The Used – Cry
04. Katy Perry – Dark Horse
05. Chevelle – Take Out the Gunman
06. Portugal. The Man – Heavy Games
07. The Airborne Toxic Event – Heavy Games
08. O.A.R. – Peace
09. Manchester Orchestra – Every Stone
10. The Fray – Love Don’t Die
11. Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part of Me
12. Augustana – Ash and Ember
13. Taking Back Sunday – Stood a Chance
14. Lee DeWyze – Blackbird Song
15. Chevelle – Hunter Eats Hunger
16. Taking Back Sunday – They Don’t Have Any Friends


17. Taking Back Sunday – Better Homes and Gardens
18. Skrillex – All Is Fair In Love and Dubstep
19. Silversun Pickups – Cannibal
20. The Black Keys – Fever
21. Manchester Orchestra – Cope
22. Manchester Orchestra – Top Notch
23. Phillip Phillips – Fly
24. Saliva – Rise Up
25. Linkin Park – Guilty All the Same
26. Seether – Words as Weapons
27. Grouplove – Let Me In
28. Linkin Park – Until It’s Gone
29. Trampled By Turtles – Are You Behind the Shining Star?
30. Linkin Park – Wastelands
31. Linkin Park – Rebellion
32. We Are Harlot – Denial

33. Grouplove – I’m With You
34. Seether – My Disaster
35. Korn – Hater
36. Flyleaf – Set Me on Fire
37. Thousand Foot Krutch – Courtesy Call
38. Trampled By Turtles – Where Is My Mind? (Pixies Cover)
39. Slipknot – The Devil In I
40. Fall Out Boy – Centuries
41. Imagine Dragons – Warriors
42. Foo Fighters – Something From Nothing
43. Foo Fighters – The Feast and the Famine
44. Fitz and the Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream
45. Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You

Well, that’s it for my look back at 2014. I can’t wait to see what all 2015 has in store for us. We wish all of you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

2013, From My Perspective

2013, From My Perspective

We kicked our year off with Alicia being released from the hospital on New Year’s Day. Our boys were still there in the NICU, so it made leaving incredibly difficult, but we drove the hour+ distance back and forth every single day until they were released because we weren’t going to miss a chance to see them. Those boys were fighters too! They did so well the 2 1/2 weeks that they were there in the NICU! We conquered new milestones almost daily! They had some really incredible people taking care of them too, like Teri Killough. We always hated leaving them, but we knew they were in fantastic hands, especially when Teri was working!

The rest of the year for us was full of so many firsts! That first -extremely careful- drive home from the hospital. That first totally sleepless night that they were home — we no longer had the heart monitors hooked up, which is something we were used to and somewhat dependent on, so both Alicia and myself would wake up (what seemed like) every 5 minutes to see if they were still ok. Beyond all of that though, our boys grew like weeds and we started having a whole lot more “firsts” while watching them grow! It’s truly amazing how much happens in the first year of their lives!

The boys' first feedingThe boys’ first actual feeding, 2 days after they were born.

Our Amazing Nurse, Teri! Our amazing nurse that took fantastic care of our boys for us, Teri Killough, on the day we were getting to go home!

The boys say Peace Out to UABThe boys say Peace Out to UAB!

Finally home!Finally home, after 2 1/2 weeks in the NICU!

Brothers together at home for the first timeBrothers together at home for the first time

Sophie was instantly a great big sisterSophie was instantly a great big sister

Our First Family PhotoOur First Family Photo

Ninja-ing Feeding TimeI learned pretty early on how to become a ninja with twin newborns (I also dedicate this photo to Teri, heh)

Received my Pebble SmartwatchReceived my Pebble Smartwatch and it rocked as much as I hoped

This mommy and daddy are both loving lifeThis mommy and daddy are both loving life <3

Our First EasterOur First Easter

Started holding their heads up betterGetting better at holding our heads up on our own!

Warmer weather let us start getting out and enjoy some sunshineWarmer weather allowed us to finally get out of the house and enjoy some sunshine!

UAB RNICU 2013 Reunion DayOur favorite RNICU Nurse, Teri Killough, seeing the boys for the first time since January 16th at the UAB RNICU 2013 Reunion Day!

UAB RNICU 2013 Reunion Day!UAB RNICU 2013 Reunion Day!

Our First Experience with Baby FoodOur First Experience with Baby Food

The day the boys first started actually playing with their toysThe day the boys first started actually playing with their toys

Alicia's First Mother's DayAlicia’s First Mother’s Day!

Cam's 8th Grade GraduationCam’s 8th Grade Graduation

New QOTSA Album!First New Queens of the Stone Age Album in 6 Years!

My First Father's Day!My First Father’s Day!

Goodbye Glencoe ElementaryGoodbye Glencoe Elementary

Surprised Mommy at Work on Her BirthdaySurprised Mommy at Work on Her Birthday

Our First 4th of JulyOur First 4th of July

We love hanging out with our best buddy, SawyerWe love hanging out with our best buddy, Sawyer

Our first dip in a poolOur first dip in a pool

Alicia finally got her white PebbleAlicia finally got her white Pebble

Our first time in an actual poolOur first time in an actual pool

Our First Vacation and Trip to the BeachOur First Vacation and Trip to the Beach — and Phoenix ate sand lol

Family Beach Photo1st Vacation Family Photo

Our 1st Alabama Football Game DayOur 1st Alabama Football Game Day

Sawyer's 1st Birthday Sawyer’s 1st Birthday!

The boys ninja'd the transition from their infant sleepers to their cribsThe boys ninja’d the transition from their infant sleepers to their cribs

Watched Bama Games with FriendsWatched Bama Games with Friends

The Boys Started CrawlingThe Boys Started Crawling!

Nine Inch Nails Releases a New Album after a 5 year hiatusNine Inch Nails Releases a New Album after a 5 year hiatus!

Said goodbye to Breaking BadWe said goodbye to Breaking Bad, one of the greatest Dramas on TV *sad*

Horrorfest 2013Horrorfest 2013 went well, even with 2 babies in the house!

Carved Pumpkins with Camden and the BoysCarved Pumpkins with Alicia, Camden and the Boys

Hanging out with daddy on his birthdayHanging out with Daddy on his 30th Birthday

Nine Inch Nails 2013 Tension Tour with FriendsNine Inch Nails 2013 Tension Tour with Friends!

Our First HalloweenOur First Halloween! We went as Classic Monsters, Dracula & Frankenstein

Our 5th AnniversaryAlicia and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary! Here’s to many, many more!

First time the boys ate spaghettiFirst time the boys ate spaghetti, Daddy’s favorite meal

Both boys ended up getting RSVBoth boys ended up getting RSV :/

Kingston stood by himselfKingston stood up by himself and looked as surprised as we were!

Our First ThanksgivingOur First Thanksgiving!

Went Thanksgiving Deal Shopping, because we're crazyThanksgiving Deal Shopping, because we’re crazy and apparently didn’t have enough excitement in our lives already.

Snowflake Festival & Lighting CeremonyOur First Snowflake Festival & Lighting Ceremony

We Met Santa! But weren't fans.We Met Santa! But weren’t huge fans.

Watched the Gadsden Christmas ParadeWatched the Gadsden Christmas Parade

The Boys Started WalkingThe Boys Started Walking!

Went to the Falls and rode the train to look at the lightsWent to the Falls and rode the train to look at the lights


The Boys’ First time to see the lights in Ball Play

Our Very 1st Christmas as a Family of 4Our Very 1st Christmas as a Family of 4!

The Boys' 1st Birthday!The Boys’ 1st Birthday!


Here’s a quick look back at how much each of our boys have grown throughout 2013:

Phoenix

Kingston


That’s it for my look back at 2013, from my point of view. I have a feeling that 2014 for the Dunaway clan is going to be another one that’s full of a whole-lot-of-awesome as we continue to watch these crazy kids grow!

We hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight — be safe out there! We wish all of you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!

One Amazing Year

It’s seriously mind-blowing how much can change in a year. This time last year, I was sitting in the hospital with my wife and we were both feeling a whole lot of different emotions all at once. We were excited, nervous, scared, and exhausted, all simultaneously. Our boys were trying their best to make their appearance, but they were 2 months early. Part of us really wanted to meet them, but we knew that they still needed to “cook” for a little longer so that they’d be healthier. So the wonderful team of doctors at UAB did everything to stave off their arrival for as long as they could. Poor Alicia though, she was basically in labor for a solid (agonizing) 8 days. I have to say that watching her experience that amount of pain for that long of a time was one of the hardest things I have ever endured, and it’s not something I ever want to experience again.

Alicia in the hospital back in 2012

Finally the boys had decided that they were donezo with being in their mommy’s belly, so on December 29th at 7:33 PM Kingston Reed made his way into the world, followed by his brother, Phoenix Cash, at 7:45 PM. I will never forget how my heart stopped when I saw Kingston’s skin was blue and that he was not breathing. The team of nurses rushed him out of the room, and before I could even say a word, it was time for Alicia to start pushing for Phoenix. A couple minutes into pushing the second time, a nurse brings Kingston back in all bundled up for us to see him. My eyes filled up with tears as I finally got to lay eyes on my first-born son — a moment I had been dreaming of for a very long time. He was absolutely beautiful. They took him down to the NICU and my focus returned once again to Alicia’s pushing. A few minutes later, Phoenix made his entrance into the world too, and he was just as beautiful as his brother. The nurses took him away and they apparently had to get him breathing as well, but luckily I hadn’t realized that at the time because he didn’t look as blue as Kingston. A few moments later they bring him back in to us, and Alicia got to hold him. We both sat there staring at him and it felt like it the world just stopped all around us in that moment. Our 2 beautiful baby boys were here. Finally. And they were healthy and breathing on their own. It was the proudest that I have ever felt in my entire life.

Fast forward to a year later and those two tiny & beautiful babies now have turned into some pretty handsome little boys with some crazy/funny (and vastly different) personalities! We’ve watched them go from not being able to hold their own heads up to be able to stand on their own, we’ve cheered them through milestones like the first time they actually played with a toy, rolled over, sat up on their own, started crawling, pulled themselves up to standing, ate their first bite of baby food, and ate their first bite of table foods, said their first words, and now they’re blowing our minds again by starting to take their first steps. This -by far- has been the best time of my life. These two boys are our everything, and every single day starts and ends with them. I just thank God every single day that he blessed us with these two amazing little guys. I am nothing without them.

Kingston
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We look forward to all of the memories that are still yet to be made. Having said that, I DO NOT want to rush anything — time goes by too fast already, we don’t need anything to speed up!

Below is a project that we have worked on over the first year of the boys’ life. We saw something similar to this on Pinterest a long time ago and we decided to make this for a gift for both of our sets of parents for Christmas, as well as one for ourselves. I’m a picture-taker. I loved doing that before the boys were here, and that passion just grew exponentially after the boys arrived. I wish that we could have had the same lighting/framing with every photo to be “perfect”, but who cares — this is about seeing how much the boys changed from month to month, and it’s still incredible to see. I really think the boys will look back on this project when they’re older and they’ll love it.

One Month Old
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One Year!

We are absolutely blessed beyond measure and thankful for every single second we get to be with these boys. Here’s to another exciting year of awesome new experiences and even more milestones as we sit back and watch in amazement.

Happy 1st Birthday, boys. Mommy and Daddy love you, so very much.

One Amazing Year

“We’ll Set Our Course & Make It Through”

“We’ll Set Our Course & Make It Through”

This day, exactly one year ago, was one of the absolute happiest days of my life.

It started off with a super early and nervous ride to Birmingham with Alicia to have her blood drawn for a pregnancy test. We had completed our 4th IUI at the ART Fertility Clinic two weeks prior and if this test didn’t come back positive we were going to have to move to the more expensive IVF treatment. During this last IUI cycle we hadn’t even thought or worried about the outcome until that morning because we had already accepted that we were going to have to take the next step and start IVF — but that morning the nerves kicked back in, full force.

After our trip to Birmingham, we both headed into work at our separate jobs for the day. That pregnancy test was all that I could think about all day long. I worried about it so much that I gave myself a horrible headache and felt really sick by the afternoon (that was usually when they called with the results). 5pm hit and I still hadn’t heard from Alicia. I just assumed either they hadn’t called yet or she was waiting until we got home to listen to the message in case it was bad news.

We had decided to grab food at Jefferson’s instead of cooking dinner that night. Little did I know that Alicia already knew that she was in fact pregnant and that she was planning on telling me there. Her plans got kind of messed up because we ran into my parents having dinner and ended up joining them, but after dinner we headed home to let Sophie out before we headed back to the store to pick up a few items and that’s when she dropped the news on me:

“Put prenatal vitamins on our list” and I, not even realizing what she just said, grab my phone and start to write it down and she goes “because I’m pregnant!” I was instantly flooded with so many emotions, man. I was excited, overjoyed, I laughed, and even cried…I COULD NOT believe that FINALLY we got good news!! We both had totally given up hope on the IUI and had already just had it in our minds that we HAD to do the IVF…I wasn’t prepared AT ALL for those results!

Fast forward to today and we now have almost 6-month-old beautiful twin boys. They’re everything we could have ever dreamed of and so much more!

Mommy & Daddy

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We owe everything to the incredible doctors and staff at the A.R.T. Fertility Clinic in Birmingham, AL. Without them and what they did for us, our lives wouldn’t be complete like they are today. We will never forget what they did for us and what that experience was like, both the good and bad. It was a rough 2 years, but we every bit of that experience makes us appreciate our sweet boys even more and it strengthened our marriage as well. We learned that we can take on anything as long as we have each other for support.

Every single day that we see and spend time with those two little boys we are thankful that they are here and that this path in our lives was even a possibility. We truly are blessed beyond all measure, and we are forever grateful.


If anyone ever needs or wants to talk to either of us about our experiences because you too are going through or are about to start fertility treatment, please feel free to contact us! We can talk privately and will always keep our conversations absolutely confidential — we know the stresses that it puts on you and we completely understand that for some people (ourselves included) the fewer people in your lives that know what you’re going through, the better. We just want to be there for anyone that might need someone to talk to that understands a little more about what you’re feeling or going through.

The First 3 1/2 Months

Wow, it’s already been 3 1/2 months since our boys were born! It’s seriously amazing (or super alarming, depending on how you look at it) how fast time goes by now that they’re here! Days literally feel like minutes now.

Daddy and the Boys

I have always known that my wife would be a fantastic mother, even back in the earlier years of us dating. She was always so good with any kids she was around, not to mention the enormous amount of love that she had for Camden (nephew) back then (and of course, still to this day). But once our boys were here…man. She exceeded everything I thought she’d be. The boys are super lucky to have such a great mom and I’m blessed to have such a great wife / mother to my boys! Thank you for everything you do, Alicia <3

Mommy and the Boys

The boys have changed so much since my last post! They’re both holding their heads up so much better nowadays, they’re smiling a whole lot more, and even doing a little giggling. We haven’t hit the full-blown laughter stage yet, but they’re getting close. They’ve started cooing too. I love hearing the sounds that they both make! It’s like a preview of their “voices”. So exciting!

Our Sweet Baby Boys

Another big change has been the amount of time they spend asleep at night. We’re now successfully getting a minimum of at least 7 to 8 hours every single night. We’ve even had a 9 1/2 hour night before! I’m super proud of our boys and how well they’re both doing with everything! I’ve got to say that having a wife that actively helped out so much with her nephew when he was growing up plus all of the years she worked at a daycare helped us handle our two boys at once. I honestly don’t think they’d be sleeping for as long if we didn’t have them on a schedule, and they definitely wouldn’t do as well with their feedings if they weren’t on a regular schedule either. When we first got home we were feeding them every 3 to 4 hours and Alicia would go to bed around 8pm and I’d stay up with the boys and feed them at 11pm, then Alicia would get up with them around 3am to feed them while I slept. It was tough, but we did it! Having said that, I like our current schedule way better, heh. They go to bed around 10:30 and sleep until somewhere around 6:30ish am every morning. It’s nice! With multiples, having a schedule is an absolute necessity. Our lives would be utter chaos if we didn’t stick to it!

Our Sweet Baby Boys

Over the last few months they’ve grown from around 4lbs 3oz when we brought them home to close to 11lbs. I think it’s safe to say that our boys are growing like crazy! They’ve both come so far from the NICU and we are so very thankful for that! Phoenix was the one that was a little lazy with his eating back in the NICU and had to have a feeding tube for a little bit, but now he’s like his daddy and he’s decided that food is good, haha. He now weighs about 11oz more than his brother!

Our Sweet Baby Boys

Because they were premies, we’ve had to really be careful with things that we expose them to over the last few months. Their risk of getting RSV and other illnesses was so much higher because their immune systems aren’t as tough due to them being born early like they were. We’ve done our best to keep them away from any/all risks. At times it was difficult, especially with people that didn’t really understand why we had to be so strict, and I’m sure that our strictness probably got some eye rolls along the way and I honestly could care less about that — the important thing is that because of our dedication to it they’ve been able to stay healthy and avoid making a trip back to the hospital! Their safety and well-being trumps everything else and it always will.

Now that it’s getting warmer, we actually ventured out for our first meal out in public as a family a couple weeks ago! We went to our favorite place, Jefferson’s. It was so nice to get out and to be able to actually take the boys with us! I’m not going to lie, we were nervous before we got there — worrying about people coming up to them and touching them, touching their hands (which go straight to their mouths, which is a bad thing when you’re worried about germs!) — but everyone was so respectful and just great. They didn’t get in their faces, touch their hands, or anything like that — they just looked at them and talked to us about them, which was so awesome and definitely relieving!

The Boys' first trip to Jeffersons!

We’ve got some exciting events coming up in the not-so-distant future that we’re really looking forward to. We’ll be attending the 2013 RNICU Reunion at UAB at the end of the month and getting to see/hang out with the amazing people that took such great care of our boys for those 2 1/2 weeks they were there! In addition to that, we’re going to make a trip to the ART Fertility Clinic and let the staff there meet the boys and thank all of them again! Kingston and Phoenix wouldn’t be in our lives today if it weren’t for those incredible people — and for that we are forever grateful!

We’re Officially Halfway There!

We’re Officially Halfway There!

Today was our 20 week Sonogram! I live for these doctor visits where we get to see the boys again, man! So exciting!

Kingston at 20 Weeks 4 Days
Kingston at 20 Weeks 4 Days

Phoenix at 20 Weeks 4 Days
Phoenix at 20 Weeks 4 Days

We had a different lady do the sonogram today than we usually have, and she was very very thorough, which was awesome! I think we seriously were in there looking at the ultrasound for like literally 30 minutes! She measured and checked everything today such as:

  • the length of their femurs to help rule out any kind of dwarfism
  • she checked their abdomens and showed us the valves of their hearts and said that they looked “beautiful”
  • showed us that they had liquid in their stomachs which meant they were swallowing fluid like they’re supposed to
  • checked their heads and said that the formation of their brains looked perfect
  • showed us their kidneys and said they were great
  • both sacks had more than enough fluid, which she said was pretty rare with twin pregnancies, but was a VERY good thing!

All in all she said that everything in this pregnancy was going perfectly. Alicia and I both were very relieved to hear that! We always LOVE these days, but that excitement always brings with it a tiny bit of worry/nervousness in us to make sure that everything is still going well and the boys are doing fine, which I would imagine is pretty normal for any pregnant couple. But either way, seeing their tiny little selves yawning, swallowing the fluid, and interacting with each other — that was a pretty emotion-filled experience. We are so very blessed and soooo very thankful that everything is going the way that it is.

Here is the link to today’s full Sonogram! At 00:48, you can see Kingston yawn, at 00:36 you see Kingston kick Phoenix in the head lol, and around 2:40 you can see Phoenix swallow and then put his hand in his mouth and suck on it. These little boys have already stolen both mine and Alicia’s hearts : ) So amazing to watch them!


Other Recent Happenings

Alicia has started feeling our twins moving around in her belly more and more as the days go by! The first time she felt them was on September 28th, at 3:30 in the afternoon! — Gotta be specific, these are details we want to remember ; ) — I can’t wait until I can feel them moving too! That seriously has to be one of the coolest things ever!

Another first was on Friday October 5th — their first experience hearing music with headphones! What band would be good enough to be the first they’d ever experience? Why Mumford & Sons, of course!

They boys' first experience with hearing Mumford & Sons!

In other news, I finished painting the nursery finally. I’m definitely no pro at painting, but I think it turned out ok. It’s been so long since the last time I painted anything, I had forgotten how much time goes into it!
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After I finished painting, I started working on putting the cribs together (while Sophie supervised)!

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We also finally registered at Target and at Buy Buy Baby (which FYI, accepts coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond!) and got that taken care of! There are still like a bagillion things that we still have to take care of between now and February, but we absolutely /cannot/ wait for our boys to get here!

Each and every single day of this whole experience is an incredible blessing — even more than I ever hoped and dreamed it would be. 5 years ago, I’d be a nervous wreck if I were in our shoes, but I honestly couldn’t be more excited than I am right now. We dreamed, hoped, and prayed for our boys, and we have finally been blessed with them! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t want to wish my life away, but man I wish it were February already <3