2016: A Year In Review

I’m terrible at blogging (Instagram is just easier to post life events and memories too) so I figured I would write a “year in review” post instead. It’s lengthy, so let’s just get to it…

Family Life

In May, William Wyatt was born three weeks early, and immediately sent via Angel One to the NICU at Baptist East Hospital in Montgomery.

This was, without a doubt, the scariest week of my life.

I have so much respect for parents who have spent months in the NICU…I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.

He’s a big ‘ol healthy boy now. He’s about the same size as his big sister – who is 20 months older! Speaking of big sisters…

Chloe’s my little artist, princess, Star Wars/Trek geek. She loves to draw and paint and dance and sing and knows all the characters to both Star Wars and Star Trek: TNG. She also joined a dance class at Center Stage Dance Studio and her first recital is in May of 2017!

Chloe also knows all her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and is already potty trained. Whats even more impressive? She’s not even 3 years old yet! (All props to Tara, who is super mommy!)

Chase continued to advance quickly through Boy Scouts and has reached the rank of Second Class. He went on two major hiking trips as well as several overnight camp-outs including a week at Camp Alaflo for Summer Camp. Inspired by his old man, Chase also joined the Art Club at school and decided he wanted to learn to play an instrument – the banjo!

Personal Accomplishments

Well, I started to learn guitar in the summer of 2015…with the goal of being on stage by summer 2016. Mission accomplished! In November, I joined the worship band, where I play (Bass) in front of 1,000 people every week.

In October, I started writing a “dummies” book for Wiley Publishing, titled, “Create A Website“. I finished the first draft in late December, and the book is expected to be on shelves in April 2017.

I also scaled back on the amount of “adult beverages” I consumed. It was not uncommon for me to have 2-3 beers after work/dinner. I have since dialed that back to 1-2 beverages per week.

I traded in my old diesel truck for a 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Since January, I put just over 4,500 miles on it. Most of them were to Dothan and back for church.

I like the truck just fine, although it hunts for gears too much and is pretty underpowered. I’m already looking forward to the day I can trade this thing in for another truck with a bit more, “balls”.

Work Accomplishments

I continued to work with (awesome) local clients throughout the Wiregrass, including: Wiregrass Church, the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, Bluewater Broadcasting, Rich Thomas, and the Organic Hippie.

The Front-End Dev Team at WebDevStudiosI also entered my third year at WebDevStudios, and the team that I co-lead with Ben Lobaugh and Jaimie Olmstead (the A-Team baby!) built and shipped ten websites(!!!) including: Flexi, The National Park Service, Appirio, Skype In MediaSkype Blog, Precept Ministries, Puff Pastry, SIG, and What’s In My Food. I continued to spearhead our efforts on our WordPress starter theme: wd_s, and was also asked to lead both the Microsoft Office and upcoming Viacom projects.

I learned how to write better JavaScript – including completing Wes BosES6 For Everyone course. Learning React is the next big task – and something I want to work on throughout 2017.

Something else I’m really passionate about is Operations and HR. In 2016, I on-boarded every single team member that was hired at WDS, I also continued to write blog posts and documentation about code standards. Maybe one day, I will be in charge of that…in an official capacity.

How I Contributed To My Community

I continued to volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 77 (and even built them a new website) as well as Wiregrass Church, where I serve on the Production Team and as an adult small group leader.

What Made Me Sad?

We lost a dear friend, Carl Rickert unexpectedly. He was instrumental in Chase’s journey in scouts. He was also a great friend and mentor to me. He is missed.

We did not make it back to home to Wisconsin. We usually ride north to visit family each year…however this fall? We were just too busy. Plus, traveling with a newborn isn’t fun! We definitely want to make a trip up north this coming winter. Chloe keeps asking to play in the snow!

How Can I Improve In 2017?

Between the book, scouts, the band, newborns, toddlers, personal clients and work at WDS? I had way too many irons in the fire. Which caused me to work long hours or be away from home often.

In 2017, I’m going to start saying “no”. Family is too precious to me, and I need to do a better job of being available to them.

I also want to be a better friend. While I’m an introverted ISTJ – and being alone is how I gather strength and recharge…I could do a be better at being a bit more available to my friends.

People I Owe A ‘Thank You’ To

The Walker family in Montgomery – for taking us in while Wyatt was in the NICU. Thank you Lanier, Ann and Stewart!

The staff at Wiregrass Church. Thank you guys for your love and support. We love giving back to our community through volunteering with the local church.

Lisa Sabin-Wilson and Allison Tarr. Where do I start? Both Lisa and Allison have been essential in helping me write this damn book. I couldn’t have done it with either of you! Thank you! Also my Acquisitions Editor – Amy Fandrei for calming me down when things got crazy! :)

Thanks to our friends, for all the laughs (and tears) through good times and bad including: The Sharp family…Wade and Nicole. The Waddy family… Josh and Kristin. The Eagle family…Forest and Julie (and Miss Tori!). The Hughes family…Garrett and Melanie. The Asselin family Clint and Lori. The Marler family…Walt, Kelly, Maebry, and Jerry. And last but not least, The Jernigan family…Ben, Megan and Abby!

Wrap Up

All and all, it was a great year and I feel blessed. I’ll be 36 in June, I believe that I’m just now hitting my stride.

I owe a great deal thanks to my wife Tara – who very supportive of me and my career (not to mention my crazy hobbies…like joining a band, ha!) and, well, Jesus.

I don’t worry much anymore, because I have faith that He will take care of my family. Knowing He provides, gives me the strength I need to take risks and push myself.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26 NIV

As I write this, 2017 is already looking very promising. I’m excited for what’s next! Thanks for reading and Go Pack Go!

Author: Greg Rickaby

Greg is Lead Front-End Developer at WebDevStudios and author of a children's book titled, Creating a Website: Design and Build Your First Site!.

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