First day of school 2019

We’ve been getting Chloe ready for school for about a year. Even though she has zero trouble getting up on stage and dancing with the Center Stage Dance Company, she is an introvert like her dad (hi!) and has a hard time with new people, especially in large groups.

Tara has been working with her on her letters, numbers, writing, and coloring. Chloe has gotten really good at all those things, including writing her name. The one thing that she wasn’t so good at, was getting over the anxiety and the fear of being away from her whole world: home.

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Home networking upgrade

The Setup

We subscribe the Ultimate Internet Package (300/20 Mbps) from Spectrum. The Ultimate Package costs extra, but offers 3x the bandwidth vs the base package. Since I work from home, via the Internet, it’s easy to justify the extra expense.

To maximize that bandwidth, we connect with a Motorola Surfboard cable modem, a Linksys WRT 1900AC router, an 8-port Netgear ProSafe gigabit switch, and Monoprice CAT6 ethernet cable plugged into all the devices here in the Office.

When devices are plugged directly into the network, we often get download speeds ~400 Mbps and connecting to the 5 GHz wireless network, it’s easy to reach speeds ~300 Mbps.

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Band Camp 2019

Chase started by trying out for drum line at the end of the school year. The freshmen are told beforehand, that drum line is mainly comprised of upperclassmen, but they’re allowed to try out anyway.

Chase and the rest of the frosh didn’t make it, so he was assigned to play on the drum rack in the pit. This was great, because he’s been taking drums lessons for about a year.

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Gatsby Themes and 45 bags of mulch before 9 am

This morning I woke up at 4:15 for no good reason, and decided to take advantage of the quiet time, so I started a continuing education course on Gatsby Themes.

Gatsby, is something I’m trying nail down in an effort make myself more marketable as the web moves away from WordPress. I learned a few things, but after 90 minutes or so I was feeling pretty restless.

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First day of band camp, class of 2023 orientation

Chase starts the 9th grade at Enterprise High School this fall. It’s hard to believe that he’s going to graduate in 2023!

Chase will also be in the pit (with the rest of the frosh) playing the keyboard and other percussion instruments…and today was the first day of Band Camp. He arrived at 7:15 am, and I met him at EPAC for freshman orientation at 6:00pm. It was a long day for him to say the least.

When I caught up with him, he was dressed in shorts, a Marvel superhero shirt with his Nashville Preds cap turned backwards, and a neckerchief around his neck. He looked like he’d had quite a day.

“My calves hurt. My heels too.” he said.

As we walked into the EPAC, he continued telling me about his day. I’m not gonna lie, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. Some of my fondest memories are from Band Camp.

Next, we listened to Principle Harrison give his talk about the upcoming school year.

27 credits to graduate by 2023

As we grabbed his schedule and walked the halls of this monster of a high school (largest square footage in the state!) I felt another wave of nostalgia.

Make no mistake, my freshman year was awful… but after I joined the basketball, football, and baseball teams I was no longer an outcast and things got a lot better.

That’s my advice to you, son. Try new things. Meet new people. That’s the only way you’ll find yourself!

Tara, your mom, and I are looking forward to being part of this new chapter in your life. We’re proud of you!

-Dad

Update

Chase has moved from keyboard, and asked to join the drum line!

https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=416398929218669&id=1814743525417778

2018: A Year In Review

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…

Family life

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!

Personal Accomplishments

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.

Professional Accomplishments

Profesh.

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:

  1. Seattle for Microsoft
  2. Myrtle Beach for #WDSCamp
  3. Back to Seattle for Microsoft
  4. Nashville for WCUS 2018

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.

I really couldn’t have made it through 2018 without the help of Tara, Cristina, Jodie, Lisa, and Ben. Thank you all for listening to my concerns and letting me occasionally vent.

Quick House Update

The front yard…with diagonal stripes. Because that’s how I roll er, mow.

We bought our dream house in April 2017. It’s a 3,000 sq/ft colonial on 5 acres. It was a foreclosure and it was in dire need of some love.

In 2018 we did some repairs and upgrades:

It’s coming along…

Family Travel

In 2018 we drove all over the place! We put about 6,000 miles on the family van going to and from:

and…

Disney World

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!

Wrap Up

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

Podcasting: Sound Like a Radio DJ

After listening to episode #265 of Shop Talk Show, where Chris Coyer mentioned he wanted to sound “like the guy on the radio”; I was compelled to share my knowledge of radio studios.

I was in the broadcast industry for around 15 years, both as a DJ and eventually as chief engineer. I’ve built dozens of studios… Continue reading “Podcasting: Sound Like a Radio DJ”