I didn't get around to posting a review for 2017, which was mega huge, since we bought a house, renovated it, and then helped launch a church. But since I've got a few minutes, here goes...
Spending some time on the trampoline.
Wyatt (2), is a rambunctious toddler currently going through his terrible two’s. He loves dinosaurs, monster trucks, heavy machinery (aka “excabators”), putting away the dishes, and sorting things.
He’s gone from not knowing any words to speaking in full sentences and is down to one 30–45-minute nap per day. Wyatt isn’t yet interested in potty training…but to be fair Chase wasn’t interested either until he turned 3. Wyatt knows most of the colors, shapes, and can count to 5!
Always ready to pose for a photo.
Chloe (4) is still a sweet, artistic, dancer princess. Last year was her first year on the Mini Team with the Company at Center Stage; which brought her to 4 different cities to compete: Mobile, AL (Rainbow), Biloxi, MS (Showstoppers), Montgomery, Al (Platinum), and Panama City, Fl (Nationals). Her, Ellie, and the rest of the Company earned several ribbons and medals last year. She's already practicing for another year of competitions, and we've already set all our travel arrangements for the 2019 season.
Sharing a laugh at 8th Grade Orientation.
Chase entered the 8th grade and turned 13 last year! It seems like just yesterday I was holding him at Flowers Hospital. Chase is really into drumming, so much so that he's attending drum lessons and playing in concert band at school. He's still into video games-- especially Overwatch. His favorite character is Junkrat and can run circles around me in first-person shooters.
Chase is a really great big brother and helps out at church with the kids. Tara and I are very proud of all our children!
Slappa da bass!
I read a lot of books (and listened to a bunch of podcasts about leadership, but more about that later).
This was, by far, the most books than I ever have read in a single year of my life. Most of them were about leadership, customer service, and personal growth...with a few cookbooks sprinkled in.
I'm still playing bass at church, in-fact: seventeen times in 2018! I also ran sound nine times, and in August was asked to be Music Coordinator at Enterprise Church. That position means I'm in charge of scheduling musicians, helping pick music and run the auditorium on Sunday mornings.
We are now a one car family! The lease on my truck was up, so I traded both the Tacoma and 2013 Sienna in for a 2016 Sienna. Going down to a one car family has its challenges, but in reality, since Tara and I are at home, the challenges have been few and far between. Having one vehicle allowed us to pay off (and down) a bunch of debt which allowed us to pay cash for a lot of home improvements and travel.
In early December 2018, I also paused social media. Specifically Instagram and Facebook. Both of those services feel toxic, and I would have constant anxiety about whether or not I was keeping up with everybody's comings and goings. I do partly blame both of those services's algorithms-- to think, a computer is deciding who/what I can see and when. That bothers me.
I do occasionally peek at Twitter, (but turned off the algorithm so I can view tweets chronologically). The first few days off of Instagram were rough! We were at Disney World, and I really wanted to blast a million photos to your screen...but I didn't. Toning down the social media has been a welcome change, that I think, has improved my mental health.
In January 2018, I was promoted to Director of Engineering. It's been a thrill working my way from Frontend Engineer, to Lead Frontend Engineer, and now Director. This change means I write a lot less code, and now I'm not involved at the project level.
Instead, my job is to support a group of (awesome!) engineers and make sure the websites we build, are exactly what the client wants.
One of the hardest parts of my new role was suddenly being "the boss" of all of my friends, ya know, the people I've worked side-by-side with over the last 5 years? Yeah, it was definitely awkward at first...but earning their trust and gaining influence has been a welcome challenge.
I also traveled for work to:
2018 was also my biggest year for "side hustles". I was able to maintain my current clients and their retainers, plus another big client (who doesn't want to be named), as well as being asked to Tech Edit Lisa Sabin-Wilson's book, WordPress All In One For Dummies, 4th Edition.
My side hustles enable Tara to be a stay-at-home mom, which, given the way the world works now, isn't something every family gets to do anymore. I'm very thankful for my clients and appreciate their business.
Quick House Update
The front yard...with diagonal stripes. Because that's how I roll er, mow.
In 2018 we did some repairs and upgrades:
- Two new heat pumps, evaporators, and ductwork throughout
- New driveway
- New water heater
- Refurbished back porch
- Remodeled the office
- New appliances, paint, and fixtures, etc...
- We put in a swimming pool with an enclosure
- Chopped down 8 trees and re-landscaped the backyard
It's coming along...
In 2018 we drove all over the place! We put about 6,000 miles on the family van going to and from:
- Mobile, AL (Dance competition)
- Green Bay/Florence, WI (Summer fun up nort, eh?)
- Biloxi, MS (Dance competition)
- Montgomery, AL (Dance competition)
- Panama City, FL (Dance competition)
- Green Bay/Florence, WI (Packers Game)
Tara and I have been married 9 years, and we've never been on a honeymoon...we've also never been on a quote/unquote "family vacation".
Sure, we've been on dozens of trips to Wisconsin, and in 2015 we did go camping in Chattanooga (with my folks) but a full-blown, immediate family vacation to some exotic location? Never.
That changed when we booked through Travelmation a 3 night/4 day stay at All-Star Music. Monday was spent at Magic Kingdom, Tuesday was pool day/Disney Springs visit, then Wednesday we were back at Magic Kingdom.
It was the second week of December, which is supposed to be one of the "slow weeks". Instead, we fought 80,000 people at the Magic Kingdom for two days! Lol! It was a great trip though and definitely one of the highlights of the year!
Afterward, we got home from Disney, my folks flew down from Florence, WI and spent two weeks with us. It was really great to spend Christmas with them!
Without a doubt, this family is blessed. Tara and I talk about this weekly, we have our health, a great place to worship, friends, family, a beautiful home, and steady work. In 2016, I wrote that I was just hitting my stride...that couldn't be more true! Bring on 2019!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
-Matthew 25-27, 33-34