Yep, that’s us – my wife and I. Two twenty-somethings trying to figure out how we’re going to fit a baby, a crib, and lots of baby supplies in a one-room New York City apartment already inhabited by us and our dog.
We’ve been living the good life as DINKs (double income no kids) for the first two-plus years of our marriage. The first two years were spent on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a neighborhood we loved with everything except our wallet. A Starbucks across the street, a grocery store directly below us, any restaurant imagineable on speed-dial, an express stop on the subway a short walk away, Central Park five blocks away…the list goes on.
Last May, however, we decided it was time to begin taking steps toward starting a family. We packed up and moved across town (which, if you’ve never been to NYC, is no easy task, and as my cousin Charis puts it, you need a passport and a sandwich for the trip). We moved into a one-bedroom in Washington Heights that is much bigger than our UES apartment was and WAY cheaper.
Aside from the culture shock at first (it’s essentially the Dominican Republic and nearly all Spanish-speaking), we adapted really well and decided to make the first addition to our family – a dog. We adopted Buddy, a schnauzer mix, from a rescue in New Jersey and just as we were getting used to him keeping us up all night with his whining, we found out we were pregnant. Yeah, four days after getting a dog. My immediate thought was we should take Buddy back, but that was quickly replaced with the love we already had for him and the determination that we were going to spend the next nine months training ourselves for the real thing.
Honestly, I have no idea what to expect, but I’ve got a great book to read that my brother-in-law Andrew gave me (which was given to him by our mother-in-law), called The Dude’s Guide to Pregnancy: Dealing with Your Expecting Wife, Coming Baby, and the End of Life as You Knew It. I’m sure that will answer all my questions and tell me everything I’ll ever need to know about this whole thing.
But seriously, I’m ecstatic at the prospect of being a father. I know there’s a lot to learn in the coming months and a lot will be learned by trial and error, but I’m committed to doing everything possible to be the best husband and father possible. I was fortunate to have been raised by an amazing father and so was my wife, so I certainly have some great examples and lofty goals to live up to. Number one is making sure my son or daughter is born a Michigan fan and doesn’t fall victim my wife’s family’s Notre Dame trap.
At this point, I’m torn between wanting a boy or a girl. Up until a couple weeks ago, I always thought I’d want a boy first. I was the first in my family so I know what it’s like. But lately I’ve been warming up to the thought of beginning with a girl. I was at a Philadelphia Eagles game last weekend and saw a guy about my age with his little daughter in a pink DeSean Jackson jersey, and thought that I can’t wait for that to be me (minus the Eagles gear). Plus, on my wife’s side, there are already three boys and no girls. So at this point, it’s a toss-up. Flip a coin, draw straws, whatever. I’ll be happiest guy in the world with whoever comes out.
So the purpose of this blog is to chronicle the journey of the coming months. We’ll show the obligatory weekly belly shots, share funny stories along the journey, and most importantly, jot down some weekly thoughts to the baby so that someday he or she can read what it was like during his or her creation.
I hope you enjoy reading and joining us on this trek. We certainly can’t do it alone. Comments are always encouraged!
Justin (and Carrie)
Ages: Justin is 28, Carrie is 27
How We Met: We both went to Taylor University in Indiana and were actually in freshman orientation group together (otherwise then-known as “probe group.” We were even in the same class the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 watching the planes hit the World Trade Center towers. Throughout four years at Taylor, we had a few classes together, and occasionally said hi as we passed each other on campus, but never really talked or hung out. We were friends with some of the same people, but both dated other people throughout college. After graduation, Carrie moved to New York City for grad school at John Jay, while Justin got an internship with the Cleveland Browns. When that ended, Justin went on tour with Chicago-based marketing agency Marketing Werks to promote Verizon Wireless. He got to go to various sporting events and concerts all over the northeast…everywhere from Virginia Beach to Maine and everywhere in between. Meanwhile, one night Carrie was browsing Facebook and saw a picture of Justin with Randy Jackson (from American Idol) at a Mariah Carey concert in Long Island (which he was working…he didn’t go there for fun). She decided to send him a message and they arranged to have dinner in the city the next night. It turned out to be Sept. 11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9/11. After dinner, we spent some time at Ground Zero and talked for hours and the rest is history. We were engaged a year later and married a year after that.
Years Together: 5
Careers & Education: Justin graduated with a degree in sports management and public relations. He currently works full-time for Marketing Werks on the sponsorship venues account, coordinating Verizon’s sponsorships of various NFL and NHL venues. He worked game day PR for the Indianapolis Colts through college and the New York Jets the past two seasons. He has also worked three Super Bowls for the NFL’s PR staff. Carrie graduated with a degree in psychology and spanish and then got her Masters in forensic psychology. She worked for two years in the Brooklyn Mental Health Court at EAC-Link before moving on to Bronx Community Solutions where she has worked for nearly two years.
Pets: Buddy, a schnauzer/terrier mix that we got from a rescue in Jersey. We actually found him on Pet Finder and went out there with the intention of buying his brother, who at the time was named Jobba. When we got there, Jobba was already gone, but we fell in love with this little guy who was named Bobba Fett. We didn’t want to call him that, but we had no idea what to name him. While Carrie was haggling with the owners to let us take him home (since we are city folk; they almost wouldn’t give him to us), Justin played with him in the back room. He kept saying, “come here, buddy,” and it just stuck. We named him Buddy. He’s great. He loves to play fetch and play with other dogs at the park, is very obedient, and is sweet as well.
Interests & Hobbies: Justin loves to play golf and would play every single day if he could afford it and had the time. He also runs a Michigan football blog (Maizeandgoblue.com). He also loves reading Robert Ludlum books. Carrie likes to read Ludlum books and old queen novels. She also likes taking long walks, traveling, experiencing other cultures, and college football Saturdays.
Fantasy Buy: Justin would buy a lifetime membership to (insert golf course here). Carrie would buy an amazing house with heated floors and towel rack in the bathroom and a nice, big screened in porch with a swing.
Anniversary Gift: We usually go out of town for a weekend getaway. We spent our first anniversary on the north fork of Long Island in a little cottage right on the beach. For our second anniversary, we rented a cabin in the Poconos. We look forward to many, many more anniversary getaways.
On Weeknights: Carrie gets home around 5:30 and Justin usually gets home around 7 or 7:30. We eat dinner, watch TV (usually a game since our favorite shows, 24 and LOST ended). When we lived on the Upper East Side, we ordered in a lot since every kind of food you could ever imagine was right at our fingertips, but since we moved to Washington Heights we don’t have that (but do have more money leftover at the end of the month). We usually take Buddy to the dog park for an hour or so, although during the winter when it’s cold and gets dark sooner, it’s much harder to get there every night.
On Weekends: We used to go to a lot of concerts, games, and movies, but since we got pregnant, we’ve stayed in a lot more lately, especially since Carrie has been on bed rest. We recently signed up for Netflix and love watching movies. Justin likes action, psychological, and ridiculously cheesy horror flicks. Carrie enjoys action, drama, and chick flicks. We also love going out to different restaurants and joke that we’re in for a rude awakening once we leave NYC. There are so many amazing restaurants all over the city, and now when we’re traveling and go to Chilis or Olive Garden, we’re very unfulfilled.