Short On Miles

Thoughts on life, travel, and fatherhood

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Let’s Take a Trip to Asheville with a baby — Part 1: Planning

Sunday July 21st, 2019 // Midday Nap

Raise your hand if you think it’s a great idea to travel ~7 hours from home by car with a 2-month-old!

::looks around and slowly raises hand::

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Clear My Calendar and Hold My Calls

Monday July 15th, 2019 // Early Morning

Starting around two weeks before my little guy arrived I did something I want to recommend to any dad-to-be — I ceased work on anything or any task that isn’t directly related to my pregnant wife and unborn child.

I’ve kept this mindset going through his first three weeks of life (where I’m at currently) and want to share some thoughts on this experience.

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Back to Work // Missing My Tiny Companion

Wednesday July 10th, 2019 // Evening Nap

Current situation: Down to a white tee after kiddo spit-up on me. He’s fighting being put down for a nap. My wife got him to go to sleep in his rocker instead of his Snuggle Me or his pack n’ play and without a swaddle. So I’m attempting to do the same…but not as successfully.

Today was my first day back in the office. I did not want to go. But bills have to get paid and in order to keep my job I do have to go back and work eventually.

I get 20 days of paternity leave to use throughout the year. I’ve used 11 days so far leaving me with 9 to go. I know I’m fortunate to get any paid time off. However 20 days is not nearly enough.

I’m JUST beginning to get into a routine with him, or as much as a routine as you can get with a newborn. Mama and I are just hitting our stride in divvying up responsibilities and taking turns sneaking in some extra zzz’s throughout the day. And most importantly, I just don’t want to miss a moment with him.

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Nap Jail

Tuesday July 2, 2019 // Early Afternoon Nap Time

I’m currently in what my friend Lynsey defines as “nap jail”. Trapped under my newborn as he sleeps. Unable to move much besides my fingers and maybe an arm or ankle. Otherwise I run the risk of waking him up.

Mama could use a little break from feeding so the longer he snoozes the better. That means I’m in nap jail for the next couple of hours. 

We’re a little over a week in with him at this point. We’re definitely still getting the hang of everything but one thing we’ve learned for sure is that once you get caught in nap jail, it’s best to just serve your time. Otherwise it’s a diaper change, feeding session, then rock back to sleep.

We’re not perpetually in nap jail. We have a “snuggle me” that we can get him to nap in. The pack ‘n play we have is a good option as well. In order to put him down though we have to move him before he gets into that deep, deep sleep.

Once you get caught in nap jail, it’s best to just serve your time.

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Car Seat Installation Inspections in Loudoun County, Virginia

Friday June 28, 2019 // Afternoon Nap Time

A little preamble that has nothing to do with the topic of this article:

My newborn kiddo is asleep on my chest. His little hat is struggling to stay on as I struggle to stay still enough to keep him asleep. After twenty minutes scrolling through Twitter and Instagram I think I’m ready to “be productive” but it’s hard when you basically only have your thumbs free. So, I’m going to attempt to write this on my phone. Okay. On with what I want to write about…

The weeks leading up to my LO’s birth felt like they were moving at the speed of light. The to-do list was never ending as you can never be truly ready for your first kid. One item we definitely wanted to make sure we got done was to get our car seat installation inspected. Where I live in Northern Virginia, specifically in Loudoun County, there are three options to my knowledge.

Please note I’m just a guy who did a little bit of Internet research and asked around and this is what I know. Also please note #3 below will be most useful for most Loudoun County residents so feel free to skip down to there! 

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A Few Thoughts from the Days Following My Son’s Birth

Wednesday June 26, 2019 // Afternoon Nap Time

It’s day three home from the hospital. I’m in my son’s room sitting in the rocker. We moved the bassinet in here for the moment. He fell asleep in my wife’s arms when she was in the rocker. So I dragged the bassinet into here so we could gently transfer him into it and swaddle him up as delicately as possible while keeping his little eyes shut.

Over the past few days I’ve had so many thoughts running through my head. So many ideas of things I want to write about. But they’ve mostly all escaped me as I’ve been dashing back and forth between feedings, coddlings, snuggles, cries, and water refills.

Here are a few that have stuck with me. Definitely not a complete list.

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Two Values to Teach My Son About Work

Tuesday June 18, 2019 // Morning

We’re days away from the birth of my son. My wife and I are now both working from home. My office is too far from home and the hospital for me to feel comfortable being there. And since I can work from home, why not? More on this in a moment…

A value I want to impress upon my son is to work hard and strive to put a strong effort in anything he does, especially at work. It’s easy to phone it in day after day in a lot of jobs. However, I believe that if you give it a good go in your 9-5 (or whatever task/hustle/hobby) that you will:

  1. Feel much better about going to work
  2. See much better results at work and
  3. Others will see much better results with your work and you’ll be rewarded.

The rewards might not come right away. Or even with that company. But cosmic work karma usually sorts itself out. If you work hard, you’ll benefit from it in more than just a paycheck.

In conjunction with this value, I’d also like to teach him that it’s okay that work is not your #1 priority. Heck, it shouldn’t even be your #2 or #3. Family, friends and health should come above work. Always.

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Some Thoughts Before Having My First Child

Sunday June 9, 2019 // 6:05 PM

My child will be here in less than two weeks. I’m so excited and nervous and 8,500 different other emotions. The past eight and a half months has been the craziest time of my life. And I know it’s only going to get more wild.

We found out very early on that we were pregnant — I think around six weeks. It was a weekday around 5:45 in the morning. I was in the shower and had just turned off the water. My wife walks out of the separate toilet room/closet thingy in our bathroom and as I grab my towel she exclaims, “I’m pregnant!”

“…uh, what?!” I stumbled out, still half asleep but now fully alert.

“I’m pregnant!” she repeats.

It sank in that second time. As the water dripped down my shocked body I could literally feel my DNA changing at that very moment. Somewhere deep inside some knobs were twisted; buttons were pushed. Dad-mode began.

We laughed and jumped up and down and smiled and the whole time was on the verge of tears. It was surreal. To this moment, before my son is actually here outside the womb, that’s the happiest moment of my life.

Side note: She did not tell me she was going to be taking the pregnancy test that morning. I thought we still had a couple more days.

I ultimately was late getting out the door that morning because we were so distracted. My hands were shaking for probably the next day and a half (not joking). We talked nearly my entire hour-long drive in. “What did we do?!?!?!” “OMG!!” “Do you think it’s a boy or girl?” “Should we take another test to be sure?” “What do we do now?”

Somehow between that day and today, some 31 or so weeks later, time has literally leaped itself forward. From finding out to today has felt like a long time but at the same time, it has gone by in the blink of an eye.

We took a trip to France sometime between 11-13 weeks pregnant. Told our families around Christmas. Had a couple baby showers. One of us got a promotion at work. We busted our tails at our 9-5s and me freelance hustling on nights and weekends. We built a crazy nice nursery. And somehow we are now just DAYS away from him being here. And it’s gone by faster than any stretch of time I can remember.

He’ll be here before we know it. He’ll be walking and talking before we know it. He’ll be off to school before we know it. Graduating high school. Getting married. Having kids of his own. I’m so excited and scared and can’t wait.

Buddy, I can’t wait to meet you.

– Josh // Dad

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