Summer updates

It’s been over two months since my last post, which hasn’t happened since… *checks the archives* …I first started this blog in 2010. 😱

I’m still alive. It’s been a whirlwind of a summer though, so I thought I’d try something I haven’t done in a while and just share a bunch of life updates.


I had heard rumors about the 17-year Cicadas ever since we moved to Ohio, but then each year would come and go and we’d never see or hear them. But this year they came, and I was so unreasonably excited about it. It felt to me like a mysterious natural phenomenon like a solar eclipse or tsunami. We had a ton of them at our house and it was fun to experience them while my kids were all about the right ages to appreciate them. I made sure to write a journal entry describing the experience in detail, so I wouldn’t forget what it was like.


I’ve been journaling a lot lately. In the past, my blog has filled the role of a journal in many ways, but recently I’ve needed to work through a lot of personal questions and journaling in private has been helpful. At times I’ve found myself journaling two or three nights a week, which has been good for my mental health, but it’s also cut into a lot of that blogging time I used to have.


One outcome of this journaling is that I’m now running three times a week (which I haven’t really done since 2016). I started this as a way to give myself the space to think and plan in a way that I haven’t in a while. Again, it’s more for mental health than physical health but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how great it’s made me feel physically, so I’m keeping it going for as long as I can.


It’s been over a year since Sparkbox permanently shut down the Dayton office. The rest of the world may be resisting going back to the office but we had a pretty special thing in Dayton and I still miss it. Work has been pretty wild though… I’ve been a part of several high-profile launches this summer which have caused my hours and roadmap to be pretty unpredictable. It’s interesting work though and it’s kept me busy, which is probably a good thing right now.

Road trip

We did a big family road trip in July, driving with our five kids across ten states to visit a lot of family and friends we hadn’t seen in a while. In retrospect, the timing was perfect (getting our visits in before the delta variant started picking up steam in the US). We ended up staying with a lot of different families in succession and it was interesting to compare their different lifestyles, each valid in their own way. I knew the lives of my peers had all diverged in the last 15 years but it’s a little surreal to witness it in person. I also enjoyed finishing three audiobooks that have been on my list for awhile.


I spend 15-20 hours a week on Church responsibilities these days. This is the part they don’t tell you about in your LDS youth groups growing up. I have a lot to learn about faith and selfless service and I guess this has become an ongoing opportunity for that.


Our deck was rotting so we got the kids involved in disassembling it one plank at a time. It took a while and we burned through a lot of electric screwdriver bits but it saved some money and the kids got experience using power tools. Now we have a “spot where deck once was” that we’ll eventually need to decide what to do with.

Side projects

Side-projects have been deprioritized behind parenting, work, church, and health, and that has proven to be a deadly combo for the things I want to do. I want to set up affiliate links, content guides, and song self-submission for continues to faithfully bring in income but I have some new ideas I want to try there too. My lack of progress here has been a source of frustration pretty much all year. When I go too long without side-project progress, I start to feel like I’ve lost control of my time and something needs to change. I’ve been coping by spending the occasional free evening building a quick and fun demo (like this or this), but that doesn’t really help me make progress towards my goals. I’m trying a new schedule now, and it seems to be helping as long as I don’t get behind (I got behind during the road trip and it took 2+ weeks to dig myself out).

What’s next?

I’ve got some more blog posts I’m itching to write, including several technical ones. I’ve got a big potential project at work that I’m excited about (but also afraid that it will cut into my existing side-project time). Four out of five kids will start attending in-person school this month (for the first time since March 2020). COVID rages on. Prices go up. Life continues.