The Right Stuff: Happy Babies and Happy Daddies in Dallas

The Next Family

By Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs

Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs

On our first date at a Moroccan restaurant in trendy uptown Dallas, we talked about having kids.  On our FIRST date. Usually conversations about starting a family will scare off a guy, but it’s a dream for two gay men. Well, more like a distant dream, particularly here in red-state Texas, where same sex marriages aren’t legally recognized and same sex adoption is only allowed under an individual judge’s discretion.

Despite the legal hurdles in our home state, we nurtured our shared goal of having kids and being a family.  Five years after that first date over plates of couscous and chicken tajine, we did it: we are a family of four.

Our twin boys Lucas and Ethan were delivered to the world via surrogate in April. Having twins through surrogacy allowed us to witness first-hand the miracle of life. Within only eight weeks after conception, we began attending our surrogate-mommy’s ultrasounds, therefore getting to watch our boys grow from microscopic balls of cells to adorable little babies. It was mind-blowing.

Our boys stole our hearts the moment we laid eyes on their wrinkly newborn selves.  An indescribable love hit us instantly and continues to grow with each feeding, each bedtime, each laugh, smile, and cuddle. Along with this kind of love comes the huge responsibility to teach, care for, and protect our sons.

And with twins, it’s a challenge just getting out the door.

Between the diaper bags, extra bottles, play toys, and perfectly-timed diaper blowouts, I don’t think we are ever on time.  A weekend trip to visit a friend? Start packing Wednesday.   We need a full suitcase for just a 3-hour outing.

Recently we planned a Saturday Daddies Day Out with our boys.  Considering Lucas and Ethan require so much at only five months old, it takes a lot of planning to ensure we have all the necessary basics organized before we even venture out.  It is important for the boys to be comfortable and happy.  Happy boys= happy daddies.

gay dads and their twins

The boys’ Orbit car seats are sleek, modern, and most of all, safe. We like the extra depth and cushion of the seats which help the boys feel snug and secure.

Carrying these little guys around is hard enough without also having to maneuver and manipulate our bodies in order to load and unload the babies from the car.  But the Orbit design allows us to easily connect the seats to the stroller bases and simply rotate them into place.  This is so much kinder on our backs! And a just simple twist of the arm knob will secure the base without the hassle of tugging on straps.  (The stroller itself breaks down easily and nests in a compact form, allowing plenty of room in the trunk for toys, diaper bags, and daddy gear.)

gay dads getting ready for their day out with the twins


gay dads big day out with the twins

Our first stop on our big day out was the recently opened Continental Bridge Park, which boasts amazing views of downtown Dallas.  It was a smooth ride for the boys as we ventured over the bridge to take in the scenery.  We were grateful for the stroller’s ample storage space, allowing us to keep everything the boys need within easy reach.  Between the main storage under the front seat, the additional side storage bins, the cup holders, and a spot specifically designed for the iPad, we were set, with room for even more.

Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs from Texas


Oh and we love the paparazzi shield!  The built-in cover blocks out the sun, reduces wind draft, and gives our little men privacy while they sleep.

gay dads and their Orbit stroller

While hanging out on the bridge, we wanted to hang out with our boys.  The rotating bases on the stroller make it so easy to adjust the boys in whichever direction we wish, which came in handy as we relaxed for a few minutes to soak in smiles and coos.

Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs

We then headed down to the arts district to see the Winspear Opera Center.

Gay dads in texas with their twins

And of course, we had to get our picture in front of BIG!

gay dads and Big

We love the stroller’s stylish blueberry color, especially for our trips to Klyde Warren Park, which is really a 5-acre bridge of green space connecting youthful uptown Dallas with the downtown Arts District.

gay dads and thier orbit stroller

We weren’t sure if it’s because we are two daddies, or because we have twins, or maybe just because we have a very cool stroller, but we noticed people watching us as we strolled through the park.

Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs

As we ventured through the city, Grandfather, Papa, and Gigi joined us and were our photographers for the day.  We are blessed to have such loving and supportive family.

We all enjoyed our morning out exploring Dallas.  Lucas relaxed in his stroller seat while Ethan rested his tired eyes.  Either way, we had two happy little boys (which, remember, equals happy daddies)!

Baby in Orbit stroller

Baby sleeping in Orbit

It takes careful planning and a LOT of stuff to venture out with our twins, but it’s so worth it!  And with the Orbit travel system making it all easier and more fun, we get to really enjoy our boys as they take in their surroundings. Nothing is better than experiencing life through the eyes of our baby boys.

The Next Family is giving away a Helix Orbit Stroller system.  You can enter by emailing us at or send us a picture of your growing family on Facebook #growingfamilygiveaway.  For more information and contest rules, click here.


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