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I’m often asked if the boys do everything together and I quickly remind them, there are two boys with two identities. People just assume that the boys have the same interests and the same friends, but in reality, they are completely different.

The boys have completely different interests, but they have some commonalities too. They both love cartoons and especially Pokemon. They are both really getting into drawing and stretching their creative mindset by drawing comic books and telling stories.

But at the same time, they are completely different as well. One loves sports, the other doesn’t. One likes quiet time, the other wants to run and be loud.

Having twins is a wonderful and sometimes frustrating thing at times. People ASSUME certain things because we have two kids that are the exact same age. But in reality, no two kids have the same personality. That is what makes them unique! Two kids = two identities.

I want my kids to be different. I want them to have different friends and different interests. How boring would it be if they did everything the same?

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Life lessons for my sons when it comes to car buying and honestly when the boys are older all of these car buying lessons could be mute.

  1. Do your research. If time permits, read as much as you can about the car that you want and the safety features.
  2. Take your time. Again, if time permits, you don’t have to have to purchase a car as soon as you walk on the lot. As a matter of fact, I would argue that you do the majority of the negotiations prior to going for a test drive.
  3. Salesmen will say anything to get you into the car. End of the month sales. First of the month sales. Have to make the deal now. It is all crap. Salesmen will make the deal if they are good and want to close a deal.
  4. Trust your gut feeling. When it comes to negotiating, be fair in your ask, but trust your gut feeling too.
  5. Walk away. ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS be prepared to walk away.

This past week, I spent I don’t know how much time negotiating a new vehicle for my wife. It had roughly two weeks since her accident and she was getting antsy to find a replacement. So, she gave me her criteria of must have features and the make and models that she wanted and off I went. I did a few TrueCar searches, both through TrueCar.com and also through USAA Buying Services and I just could not find exactly what I wanted at first. I have always heard about buying brand new cars, so I really wanted to find a low mileage used SUV.

I did my research, as quickly as I could and found 2 options that were both affordable, low mileage and the exact features that my wife wanted. We tested drove both vehicles and liked the both, were not 100% in love with either, but they would have worked, but because we were in a rental, I didn’t exactly know how much time we had with it.

So this past Wednesday, I started negotiating for a 2017 Kia Sorento LX with 9 miles on it. The price, I felt was a little high, but was whiling to trade that because of the mileage, but I was ready to make the deal but the dealer would not negotiate. My Plan B had only 6,000 miles and was $1,500 less than the brand new car and they too were not negotiating either. I was ready to walk away.

Thursday night, I felt defeated. My wife was upset because she didn’t get the SUV that she wanted and she was really frustrated with me. Not mad, but disappointed. But, I kept saying over and over again, that these were not the right ones. Something just didn’t feel right and I just kept thinking that the price was too high.

I walked away from the first deal because of a gut feeling and I am so glad that I did. The salesman tried to do what he could and we were literally $350 apart and they didn’t want to come down in price and I was already above what I really wanted to pay. And I’m really glad that I did walk away from it, because after not sleeping on Thursday night, as I got settled in on Friday morning I got an email from another deal with the exact same model we wanted, more safety features than the other two, the color that we wanted and best of all, the exact price that I wanted. Literally. It was exactly where I thought the SUV should be priced and my wife was happy.

I emailed the salesman that reached out to me a few questions, confirmed that it only had 6, that is right, 6 miles on it and the features and I was sold. I knew how the SUV drove and rode and with the other factors, this was going to be one of the easiest sales this guy had to make. And it was. We drove it for 4 miles and closed the deal. No negotiations were needed, as they got to where I wanted in 1 single email.

So, guys here is the moral of the story, trust your gut. There are other cars, it just sometimes takes a little while.

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Fathers Day has come and gone, but I will never get over the feeling of excitement when I wake up that morning.  I don’t get overly excited about gifts, I have never, but I do love waking up and the boys running and hugging me and wishing me a Happy Fathers Day!

I had several friends that had their first Father’s Day this year and all they could say was that they couldn’t put into words how the feeling was to experience their first Father’s Day.

 

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The struggle is real or at least, it has been the last few weeks. We have come to the final home stretch of Kindergarten and by all accounts, the boys have exceeded their first year’s grade level expectations by a lot. And, we all survived, which is also important!

I have noticed though that in the last few weeks, Boy B has struggled with a few classes and some of the changes in his schedule. I remember a long time ago, when I was in school, the last few weeks bothered me because of the lack of structure. So the struggle is real with him and the lack of structure of the day and it has reflected in his daily behavior sheets at school.

Speaking of no structure, today was Field Day for the boys and as I made my way onto the campus at school, I stopped for a moment to watch at how far my sons have come in the last year. And the struggle is real for me, as much as it is for them. You see, we all have grown, we all have changed, but we made it. We worked through the changes together and had a lot of talks, but we made it through their Kindergarten year.

So Dad’s, as you embrace your child’s 1st real formal school year, the struggle is real, but you will make it. You will be ok and your children will be ok too. Be there for them. Help them when they have struggles, but let them make mistakes. The struggle is real.

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Where does the time go? I literally just had my son yell down form the bathtub that he had washed himself and his hair at bath time.  It seems like a few days ago, he was calling me to bath him.

My mom and I were talking this morning about when I was my son’s age and things that I went through and did and my mom paused and asked “where does the time go? I remember like it was yesterday you were doing the same thing that your sons are doing.”

Time, it is an important thing and something that we can’t get back and we aren’t promised tomorrow. So enjoy the time that we have today, with our family and our loved ones.

Growing up, my dad didn’t spend a lot of time with me or at least if he did, I really don’t remember it. And that isn’t a knock against him. He was doing what he thought was right for our family. But those things came with a sacrifice. And as a child, I decided that I wouldn’t follow in my father’s footsteps and that I would do something different. So, I choose time. I choose to spend time with my children today, because I am not promised tomorrow.

So, a few weeks ago, we got an email from our teacher and without looking at my work schedule, I hit reply to the email with a quick response of “count me in.” And then I realized what I did. I committed to being a chaperone on my son’s field trip, without asking for time off from work, clearing my work calendar, etc. But, I was able to move my meetings to the next day or the following week, my boss is great and didn’t hesitate to say yes to my request off and tomorrow, I get to spend TIME with my son’s on their class field trip with school.

The lesson that I want my son’s to learn is very simple. I choose time with them over work, things that I wanted to do, etc. I chose time with them over basketball or baseball games. I chose them over everything, because they are the most important people that I want to spend my time with.

So, tomorrow, we goto the zoo, with a lot of little kids.

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There is nothing worse than when the kids are sick. Ok, in my case, it is just one kid, but it is still not fun, especially when they are throwing up.

Adults can understand or rationalize getting sick, because at some point in our lives, either due to a bug or self inducing (drinking) we have thrown up. But for kids, their experience with this isn’t as great and there is a level of fear there. What is wrong? Why am I throwing up? All great questions, just not one I am prepared to answer while their heads are in the toilet.

Getting sick is part of life, it happens. It is not a fun thing to deal with, but we all have to at some point. The one  frustrating thing this morning was that my son kept screaming before he threw up. Now, I can not imagine that it felt good to throw up or that it felt good to scream before doing so.

As adults, we can take care of ourselves, for the most part, but kids, it has to be a very scary feeling. As parents, we do have to remind ourselves that they are scared and need to be comforted and reassured. Watching your child when they are sick is hard, because you are limited in what you can do for them.

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I feel like time is moving at warp speed and I’m watching the boys growing up in super fast mode. Last night, my my wife went out of town for a girls weekend and the boys asked to goto Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Cool, I love that place, so why not? But, I realized something, they were able to order their own food, they were able to ask when they needed refills, they were growing up.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love that they have become independent, but yet ask questions. Over the past several weeks, I’ve really noticed a big change in them. They are doing more chores around the house, taking interest in new things, etc. And somewhere, my babies, are becoming big boys.

New dads, enjoy these moments when you can hold your child in your arms, because there will come a day that you can’t do that anymore. There will be a day, that they will be taller than you. And each of these stages in life are important and also hard too. Take the time now, mold your child and teach them all of the important life lessons now, because as they grow up, you might not have the chance.

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Changes, they might be in the future for us. I was recently and by recently, I mean less than 2 weeks about a job, literally 30 miles from where I grew up. This wasn’t on our radar for a possible move, but changes, they might be a coming.

This could be a huge career move for me personally and a great move for our family, but at the same time, it could present a few struggles too. Those changes would be a short term thing, i.e. I would have to move for 4 – 5 weeks and then my family would join me, but it could a short term sacrifice for a really good long term gain.

Changes can be both good and bad and after flying back home last night after a 23 hour round trip there and back. I was beyond exhausted when I landed and drove 45 miles from the airport back home, but I was fortunate to be able to put the boys to bed and it was exactly what I needed. I needed to be able to hug and kiss my boys, because in a few weeks, I might be flipping their worlds upside down.

 

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Well, it is the day after my vasectomy and man, that was nothing. 15 minutes in and out.

For months, ok, I started a week after we had the boys and now almost 6 years later, it finally happened. This wasn’t something that we took lightly and discussed numerous times and at the end of the day, it was the right decision. And after talking with a few friends, I felt like I had a good handle on the procedure and the recovery.

Granted, I have a pretty high toleration for pain, but I really was surprised that I didn’t have really any pain. There was a few moments of discomfort, but that only lasted about 20 seconds total. All in all, it was a great day in the recliner, but even though there was no pain or really any issues, I am still taking it easy for the next few days, Doctors orders and honestly, I need to rest.

I’ve gotten to do a little reading, planned out some new recipes to try for the boys, found a tent for us to get and do a little camping this summer. All good things, all good things.

So, the day after has gone like this, no pain, a little swelling, the dog is in my lap, the boys are playing and I’m sipping on coffee. If you guys are thinking about doing a vasectomy, talk with your Doctor, talk with friends that have done it, but from my stand point, as I am starting the day after, I’m really happy that I did it, for many reasons.

Now back to the sofa.

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The word grateful can mean different things to different people and can be viewed in many ways.

warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful: dictionary.com

The key phrase here for me is benefits received because usually with being grateful, it goes with someone or something. For me, today I am grateful for second chances. I’m grateful in knowing that even though I’ve made mistakes in my life, things could be a lot worse.

I’m also grateful for friends and family too. I’m grateful for my son’s who love me unconditionally, as I am not perfect, but try my best to do what is best and right by them.

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