Year in Review: 2018

A reflection on family, business, and travel. See also: 2015, 2014, 2013.

I definitely feel older this year. Not yet in the “my body is aging” sense, but in the “I am definitely not a kid anymore” sense. I am acutely aware of all the responsibilities I hold as a father and husband (and homeowner, for that matter). This post is a couple days late accordingly.

Family life

We are fully assimilated into the routine:

  • Leah works Mondays and Wednesdays, so I watch the kids until 8 am and then take them to daycare up the street.
  • On the good days, I’ll land in my shedquarters and start working. On the really bad days, I don’t make it off the couch for a while.
  • When Leah is at work, I’ll pick up the kids around 4:45 pm and then start making dinner. We eat, we putz around the house, we put the kids to bed, we read for a bit, and then we go to sleep.

One of our life hacks is to meal plan at least a week out, and sometimes two. Not only does this reduce my trips to Costco and Fred Meyer, but it empowers us to live vicariously through food. A couple of recipes on regular weeknight rotation include Spinach, Chickpea, and Tomato Curry from Fresh India and 20-Minute Turkey Chili.

We also loved our CSA share from Our Table, a neat cooperative farm roughly 10 minutes from our house. Every week yielded a diversity of vegetables that inspired us to try new flavors and recipes.

To break the grind in 2018, we focused on enjoying the Pacific Northwest:

As of this writing, Ava is 4 1/2 (eagerly awaiting her 5th birthday) and Charlie just turned three. Ava loves craft projects right now. She’s regularly drawing, making necklaces, or just cutting stuff out and gluing it together. Charlie is increasingly articulate — both a conversationalist and a joker. Watching both of their personalities develop is a total joy.


On the consulting front, 2018 was my best financial year yet.

Hitting this milestone was the result of 60 hours/week for 9 straight weeks. Imagine waking up at 4 am, leading three separate projects with Indian engineering teams, then load balancing against a variety of other projects throughout the day, and finally wrapping up around 8 pm. Needless to say, I was pretty burned out at the end of it.

Next Tuesday, January 8th, I’m starting a full-time job! I’m really looking forward to working with my new team, and the new learning opportunities presented in the role. It’s also been wonderful to have a couple weeks of downtime to reset.

Over the course of 2018, I volunteered a total of 116 hours towards open source. During the first half of the year, I helped out with WordCamp for Publishers as a speaker/workshop organizer. Many thanks to Steph and Adam for their roles in wrangling a great event. In the second half of the year, I took on the role of REST API Release Lead for WordPress 5.0. I’m really proud of those who supported the efforts, and am happy that I was able to make a substantive contribution to the project.

Quantified self

According to Goodreads, I read 39 books over the year (with an original goal of 25). Of this set, my favorites were:

  • Buy Then Build. All about “acquisition entrepreneurship” and associated tactics. Creating a new business from scratch is for suckers. I’m sold.
  • Lost and Founder. Rand Fishkin’s highly engaging telling of his relationship with Moz (his company) and the associated ups and downs. One of the most honest startup narratives I’ve read.
  • Sourdough. I am Lois and I love sourdough.
  • Principles. Superb strategies delivered with great clarity. Ignore the parts that may seem annoying, because the book will transition back to immensely practical detail.
  • Pachinko. If you don’t know much about the history between the Koreas and Japan, Pachinko is a great entry point.

Special shout out to John Scalzi. I read from a few of his series this year: The Interdependency, Old Man’s War, and Lock In. All of his writing is delightful. If you like science fiction at all, I’d highly recommend John Scalzi’s books.

According to Strava, I ran 1,056.6 miles in 167 runs (average of 6.33 miles). I only biked 208.7 miles in 25 rides though. My favorite run was probably the Spray Rodeo half marathon, where I managed a 8:16/mile pace and 7:23 for the last mile.

According to TripIt, I traveled 43,325 miles in 58 days on 12 trips. India was my furthest destination. I also went to Salt Lake City, New York, Austin, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Nashville for a variety of work-related events. Notably, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Twilight River Cruise is pretty darn amazing on a clear night. I’m not one for tourist activities but I was highly impressed.


Goals are what I like to think about doing until something more interesting comes along. A few ideas on my mind include:

  • Buying an online business doing $2-5k MRR (something I can run on the side).
  • Trying out the Unitarian Church with Leah and the kids.
  • Figuring out how I can get on the Tualatin River more often (canoe, kayak, or rowing skiff) because it’s so close to our house.

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