Better late than never, right? What a year! I just reviewed my Thirty-Eight post and a lot has happened since then. Luckily none of the major three items have changed: family-size, employer or address. Kids are doing awesome and are now aged 7 to 14. Super weird. I guess it’ll never not freak me out a bit to state how old my children are. They grow so fast. Let’s see, here are some highlights of my 38th year of life.
- We decided to sell our little kid playhouse in the backyard and build a big kid clubhouse. We literally finished it yesterday.
- We bit the bullet and hired someone to build two gigantic rock walls in our yard to get rid of the ugly hill. He hasn’t started yet but hopefully will do so in about three weeks. Because that’s paid for and arranged, I got the green light to start working on the wood shop. We’ve had the pad poured for years, we just needed to start building. At this point, it’s framed and sheathed and ready for the roofing to begin. Pretty excitin’ stuff.
- I changed roles at work and went from being a front-end developer to a Software Engineering Manager. I manage a team of about 30 engineers and it’s actually been a blast so far. I really enjoy working with people and I love that I can have a positive impact on their careers and lives. It helps that I have a pretty awesome group of people to work with and a boss that gives us some room to run and try things out.
- I still serve on the High Council and it’s been a great calling. I enjoy speaking in different wards, working with the youth and learning constantly.
- Our ward split in November last year and we’re now part of the Saratoga Hills 7th ward. There are now 14 wards in our stake and we started attending the newly built Redwood Road building. Very cool. Katrina was called into the Primary Presidency and she’s doing a great job. It’s a lot of work but the whole presidency is pretty top notch and they do awesome work.
- We’ve been on three fun trips this year already:
- Southern Utah – Goblin Valley, Arches and Moab
- Southern California – Los Angeles and Shiloh and Brian’s house and, most importantly, got to meet our new nephew, Tenzin.
- Northern California (San Francisco) – Fun trip to Frisco for a three day adventure, including the kids’ first airplane flight, Golden Gate Bridge Fairy ride, Ghirardeli Square, Alcatraz (by boat), a bit of time on the beach and an Aircraft Carrier tour. All in all a very fun little trip.
- Started physical therapy for my shins. They’ve bugged me for years and it was because my hips weren’t as strong as they needed to be. Who knew? They’re way better now.
- During the winter, I built a new kitchen table. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out but would do some things differently were I to do another.
- Built and installed custom cabinets and shelves on either side of the theater screen. It was my first crack at cabinetry and it was pretty cool!
- Poor Katrina had a super weird reaction to a skin condition on her eyelids, and her body broke out in a bumpy rash from head to toe that itches to no end. Poor woman! She’s hopefully at the tail end of it but it’s still hanging around and drives her crazy, as it would anyone.
- I just saw that I had 40,000 subscribers on my 38th birthday. Now, a little over a year later, I have 129,000! Got the Silver Play Button award a few months back, which was really cool. I now have over 4,000,000 views on my top video and over 14,000,000 views combined. I changed my channel name to LRN2DIY (was DIY Nils) and rebranded everything.
- Bought a 1995 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. I’ve never owned a truck, so it’s pretty nice to have. It’s a third vehicle so it mostly gets used on the weekends for Home Depot runs. It runs great and is in pretty good shape for being 22 years old.
- I have a kid in High School! Anders is a freshmen and that makes me feel pretty old. He’s a great kid and very talented too. Addie is now in Young Women’s, which is crazy – two kids in the youth program. Ava is getting baptized in three months. Stop growing, everyone!
- Sold all my Canon stuff and switched to Panasonic Lumix camera setup, shooting all in 4k now.
Yes, that’s a super varied list, but there you have it. Now for some photos, because that’s what we really want to see. These turned out all mixed up, so they’re totally not in order. I’m way too tired to figure that out right now so here they are.
^ The barely finished clubhouse
^ Aani as a dang cute bumblebee in the city’s production of “The Jungle Book”. She’s not even in this photo but you’ll see her down below.
^ Actual birthday dinner: Clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl from Boudin’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco. I thought I’d try their very famous calm chowder, what with me being a New Englander and all, but it was still disgusting. I just can’t handle any sort of seafood. I ate it all though. Mostly because it was like $10.
^ A sundae at Ghirardeli’s with my favorite human. Nothing says love like $46 in ice cream!^ We spent some time at the beautiful Oakland Temple and their visitor center on Sunday. Had to put something holy into our Sabbath, right?
^ We rented one of these things and it was a joke. We got lost immediately and came back way early because it wasn’t actually all that fun and it felt like we took up the entire sidewalk and/or bike lane. Ya know, cuz we did. Now we know.
My parents joined us for the Christmas Eve festivities at Kathy’s. It’s kinda fantastic having them so close and seeing what excellent grandparents they are. Also very cool that they and Kathy get along really well.
^ All of the kids decorated their cups while we stayed at “Gramma’s House” in Moab. That’s literally the name of the creepy double wide trailer we rented for a couple nights. Totally worth it. Anyway, Ava’s cup decorations were pretty elaborate and awfully cute.
^ As part of being the kindest and most gracious hosts known to man, Shiloh and Brian insisted on buying us the same amazing Lego Apollo rocket that Brian got. Anders had it assembled later that day and was eerily quiet for several hours. He’s quite the talker usually so we kept checking to make sure he was alive.
^ Addie always makes me S’mores when there’s a fire because she’s not a big fan and I am. She’s a sweetie. This is at the ward campout where we were one of about six families that stayed the night. Come on, ward!
^ My new office. After three years in a cube, I was a little sad to leave the open cube life, but an office in my new role is critical. After some demo and some decorating, it’s looking a little more personalized now.
This is actually from August 27th, 2017 (the time of this writing). Some jerk wad drove down Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs and set seven separate fires. This one came within about 150 feet of our house (shown on the left). Luckily, three fire departments showed up and knocked it out in a hurry. That huge black area represents about 8 minutes of burning. Thank you fire fighters!
^ Christmas 2016. Our tree and its decorations have changed a lot over the years. We’re big fans of fake trees and we’ve moved to a simpler, less hodgepodged set of decorations. We must be getting old.
^ The highlight of the 4th was watching fireworks in the parking lot at Cafe Rio. There was a fireworks stand so Ben and I bought our own fireworks (my first time doing that in a decade or so) and had our own little show. The kids loved it and always bring it up.
^ My sweet wife not only found this gorgeous table saw on Facebook, but encouraged me to go get it. It’s a $900 saw that was selling for $385 and it’s SOOO much better than the one I had. Thanks, Katrina!
^ One of our trips to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. We used to get annual memberships but the kids have outgrown the museums so we let ours expire this time. This was one of the last adventures there. I love this crew.
^ Addie has been seriously into Shakespeare due to the plays and studying they’ve been doing in school. She got to be in two Shakespeare plays this year (same night) and she ate it up. She’s so nerdy (in a cute way)!
^ I spent a day at Girls Camp this year, mostly because I wanted to see Addie up there, and we both had a good time making duct tape gifts for the fam. We made bags, a wallet and a tiny tub of Vasoline holder (for Katrina, of course).
^ Straight up gangsta. We spent about $40 at McDonalds as our last meal in Oakland. We were just killing time before heading to the airport. We watched as homeless people walked in, grabbed cups out of the garbage, filled them with fountain drinks and then meandered about the restaurant harassing people. We sure are gonna miss Oakland!
^ The shop! It’s coming along nicely. I’m actually typing these captions up on August 29th because I’m home from work today due to the fact that yesterday, while working on the second floor of said shop, I slipped through the floor and smacked my back on one of the rafters, breaking a rib. I’ve only broken one bone until now, but at least it gives me a day to work on things like photo captions for my blog post. 🙂 Sadly, I’ll have to take some time off of constructing the wood shop until I start to mend.
^ For Katrina’s birthday we went skiing and it was a blast. We hadn’t skied in years and years and, as it turns out, we’re better at it now that we’re older. No injuries and a good time had by all. By the way, nearly everything we’re wearing was borrowed from friends. Thanks, friends!
^ For our anniversary, Katrina and I spent the night in Salt Lake, ate good food and went on a hike to “The Living Room” trail. It was pretty grand. One of our favorite parts of the weekend was eating fantastic food at the Cheesecake Factory on a slightly chilly night while seated in front of a propane heater. It was magical.