The turning of the year always makes me reflect back on how very much has happened in those 365 days. This year has not seen as much change as years past but it’s been a great year.
Just a month ago, our youngest, Ava, turned 7. Seven! I can’t believe that. Anders is about to turn 14 (on Friday). Fourteen! It’s nuts. We let Anders stop taking piano lessons this year, as he’s pretty decent at it and has been playing the Piano in the Jazz band. He continues to play the French Horn in band as well (he’s in three bands). He’s not taking any lessons at the moment but keeps plenty busy with Scouts, church, goofing off and mostly playing instruments. He’s a heck of a front end developer and will play the Xbox One endlessly if we let him. He just earned his 2nd Class and 1st Class ranks in scouting (none too willingly) at the end of the year so he’s doing well in Scouts, despite his best efforts to avoid all things scouting related. He will be an Eagle Scout. Oh yes, he will.
I feel like I often clump the kids into two groups: boy and girls. Anders is way different than his sisters, and the girls have a ton in common with one another. That said, all three girls are in piano lessons. All three girls are in tumbling. All three girls love Pokemon, and reading and Calico Critters, and My Little Pony and… well, you get the idea. They’re all doing well in school and all play well together. Addie is about to turn 12 and will be attending the Young Women’s program. Whaaaaat!? It all happens so fast. Ava is going to be baptized later this year and Aani is already in 4th grade! Time certainly flies. All the girls are talented little cuties and all are spunky and fun in their own way.
Katrina is and always has been amazing. She still takes care of our whole family by providing delicious meals, doing countless loads of laundry, driving everyone everywhere and serving as the fun police. I’m a home body. I’m at work every day so on the weekends I’m pretty content sitting at home and doing projects. Katrina’s at home every day so she thinks our kids should have fun experiences. Lame, right? I kid, but she really does try to keep things fun and funky in the fam.
This was the first time that we had all four kids in school all day (no more pre-k or or kindergarteners) so Katrina went through a period of “what am I supposed to do with my life?”-ness. Fortunately, she’s feeling pretty comfortable with being at home and the six or so hours that the kids are gone doesn’t leave a ton of time for her to do anything too big outside the house. I’ve always been grateful that not only is she able to stay at home but that she’s willing to. It’s a sacrifice on her part and a blessing to us all. I think she’s feeling pretty at peace with being at home and I’d still support her if she wanted to work, but we’re blessed to not need an additional income. Plus, there’s that whole YouTube thing.
This summer we took a vacation across the country. This time, we had a nicer van (our 2013 Sienna) that had zero issues. We drove to Virginia, where we chilled at Tommy J’s crib for a bit (he calls it Monticello). We spent a week or so at a huge fancy cabin in the humid hills of the smokey mountains for a family reunion. We saw everyone in my family (my sibs, their families and my parents), plus several uncles and aunts and even some cousins and had a good time. It was insanely hot and humid but we made it.
We finished the basement! Our super-optimistic goal was to finish it by our Anniversary in April. We pretty much accomplished that. The carpet was installed on our Anniversary. That doubled the size of our living space and added three bedrooms, an exercise room and a large family room with a theater. We actually use our basement a ton. The two older girls are down there and we watch movies and shows (and play video games) on the projector all the time. It’s kind of a big deal. We have spent many hours down there (Katrina and I) marveling at the accomplishment that is the basement. We love it.
We also cased some windows upstairs, added shiplap to the mud room and half bath, came up with our Christmas Light system, wished we had a rock wall (instead of a muddy hill), built two built-in cabinets and shelf systems for the theater area, decorated the family room, got a leather sectional for the theater and, last but not least, got a new sink and vanity for the half bath.
I think this is the area that has seen the biggest change. If I’m not mistaken, at the first of 2016, I had about 11,000 subscribers. Crazy. As of today, I have 59,000 subscribers. That’s more than a500% increase, which is pretty amazing for me. If that kept up (which it won’t), I’d have about 300,000 subscribers a year from now. I really don’t see that happening but I do believe I’ll pass the 100,000 mark. Just need 41,000 more. I can do it. I have a lot of videos in the line-up so I’ll do ok. I’m doing my first collaboration right now with the Idaho Painter, which is kinda cool. As far as views, I’ve gotten about 4.5 million views this year, leaving me at 9.3 million views total right now. My income went from about $8,000 in 2015 to $10,000 in 2016 – which is nuts that my income only went up 25% while my subscribers went up 500%. Hmmm.
Anyway, I think the biggest change for me has been that I feel like I’m finally getting into a regular flow for producing videos. I updated my template, got some artists to agree to let me use their music and I’m pretty comfortable with the editing process. I’m trying to output roughly one video per month. More would be sweet but that’s enough for now. My intentions are not to be a full time YouTuber – at least no time soon. I really like my job and want to continue developing. I love having the opportunity to do YouTube on the side though.
Work – LDS Church
I feel like my excitement around learning and developing has been increased as I’ve been able to not only learn but teach and understand more than ever before. I taught a CSS course at SORT, I taught a Donuts.js course on CSS Secrets and I’ll be teaching a Donuts.js later this month on CSS Grid. I’m now the front end team lead for our little group of three and am the assistant Front End manager, which just means I help my boss out with whatever I can, but he’s a stud and takes care of things. I did get hired as a Full Time employee one year ago today, so I really hope to get a raise this month, though I’m not quite sure how that works. I got to go to San Antonio for a training conference in October. Had a good time and learned a lot.
This was my first year as a High Councilor. I gave six talks in six wards, participated in bunches of disciplinary councils and learned for hours from our very incredible stake presidency. I did a lot of work with the Stake Young Men’s Presidency and did way more scouting related responsibilities than I care to have done. Friends of Scouting + Rechartering = Bleh. No likey. All in all, I really enjoy my calling. I had a small scare when our ward was split and our bishop stayed in the old ward. I know that the high council is often a place where new bishops get called from (I’ve seen that happen several times in the past) so I was at least a bit worried, but fortunately the right choice was made and our good bishop, Bishop Woodbury, was called.
I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with my responsibilities for 2017. I’ve been through it all once, so the second time should be better.
I’m fatter than ever, but I’m no tub’o Lard. I probably have about 15 lbs to lose. I have a gut and I’m flirting with the 200 lb mark. I’ve never touched 200 and hope not to. I need to start running again, or biking, or something. I just have zero desire to do so. Exercise completely stinks to me. I’d much rather burn calories by building or fixing or creating than doing something that produces nothing. There’s only so much physical building that can be done though. I’ll do something or another.
I got a nice quadcopter for Christmas – a 3DR Solo, but then my Dad got one too so I had to give him back his GoPro, which was a pretty essential ingredient. Quadcopters are none too exciting without a camera, so I’ll have to figure out a way to finagle my way into getting a GoPro of my own. The Solo is pretty rad, though. I’m way impressed with it – especially for the price. We got it for $350 with a bunch of extras because 3DR no longer makes them and has way too many of them. My brother-in-law, Kevin, got one too.
I’ve realized that I’m not much of a partier. I’m fine with being home all the time. I like home. A lot. I’ll go out and do fun stuff, but I hate blowing $110 on something stupid. I’m cheap when it comes to entertainment. I guess that’s a flaw of mine sometimes. I think the kids have a fun life that they enjoy, so that’s ok, I guess.
That’s 2016 in a nutshell! I have tons of photos but I’m not able to access many of them right now so I’ll have to try to come back and put them in. I suspect that will never happen so the text might just have to suffice. Here’s to a most excellent 2017!