August 2018 in Review
The last monthly review was about 5 months ago! Baby is asleep, and I still occasionally get good feedback about the blog, so I’m putting this together - it may not get polished or be coherent or anything, but it’ll be something. I’m basically gonna skip the last 5 months and just do August. I’m hoping to record something with Suzi later that can cover this whole adventure of pregnancy and parenthood.
At work, Airbnb has this gradual return policy as part of parental leave, so I’ve been working four days a week and taking Fridays off, which has been really helpful for being able to be around to give Suzi an extra hand.
I’m really enjoying work lately, which is a nice (but sorta foreign) feeling. I feel like my team has a lot of momentum/velocity right now on our projects, and a lot of things are coming together, so it’s a fun time. I’m not actually doing as much coding right now as I used to do - it’s been more communicating and project planning and documentation and code reviews. Still a lot of fun, just different from what I’m used to doing.
I’m on the “social impact committee” at work, so I planned a street cleaning event this quarter (and then re-planned it, because we had to wait for the Seattle smoke to clear up). I also helped host a lunch talk from a local organization called Unloop (they provide technical training/mentorship opportunities for people who have been incarcerated). It’s been cool getting to spend time at work coordinating those things and seeing how Airbnb incentivizes that sort of community enrichment and “social good” on an ongoing basis. I’m also in charge of coordinating some more office wide events for Q4, so I’ll need to find some volunteer opportunities (let me know if you know of any good local opportunities!).
I had put in a talk proposal to CascadiaJS (like the Pacific Northwest’s annual version of JS Conf), but I found out that I wasn’t accepted, which is okay. I bought tickets though, so that’ll be my first industry conference since going to ReactConf several years ago (the one where they announced React Native and Relay).
There was a day where the whole office went out and did Airbnb experiences (some experiences included paddleboarding, yoga, and a photo walk). One of the options was some meditation in Cap Hill one; I ended up doing that one because I was curious and thought I could have some good conversations with coworkers. (I don’t think it really conflicts with my faith - I could, and I will, meditate on the cross and the work of Christ for eternity. I was honestly a little afraid that I might end up asked to do something controversial to my faith, but there wasn’t anything like that). It was pretty chill and pretty unstructured, so I just spent the time meditating on God’s promises, and then we all ate some waffles and hung out.
I’ve been really happy with my running progress and have been able to do some longer runs without feeling serious physical pain. The thing that changed was actually having the time off during paternity leave - there were some weeks where I ran as many as 5 times - it wasn’t particularly high mileage or even fast, but I was just trying to be consistent and get past some of my injury setbacks. Since returning to work, I’m going on much much fewer runs, but I’m feeling a lot faster and stronger than I have in a long time. I think my casual pace has dropped from around 8:00 to 7:40. I’ve been trying to take my easy runs way easier and only running fast when I have planned for faster workouts.
I had a handful of 20 mile weeks; my longest run was 9 miles on Elliot Bay Trail. Boston 2020 seems like a good goal. I might do the Fall City Half marathon, just to get a half marathon under my belt this year and hopefully give me some momentum going into the spring. But it is hard to train while wanting to do well at work and be present at home, so I’m already not running as much as I would like.
Definitely haven’t been hitting the gym :/
I finished reading Living Life Backwards by David Gibson (that was the book our small group was going through over the course of this past quarter) and Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family. In the Bible, I finished reading through the Gospels and Acts and just finished 1 Corinthians yesterday afternoon (but, by the time of proofreading, I also finished 2 Corinthians).
Living Life Backwards went through Ecclesiastes (each chapter was modeled after the corresponding chapter in Ecclesiastes) and made the point that the way we live our lives should be based on knowing that we will one day inevitably die (hence, we should “live life backwards”). Our small group had a good time going through the book, and I thought it gave us a new perspective and a bunch of topics that we don’t normally talk about or know how to talk about. For instance, we talked about how God has given us everything in this world and how we can enjoy those things for what they are (not more than what they are, like in an idolatrous way, but not less either). David Gibson argues that bucket lists are important. And that God doesn’t want us to be miserable, but wants us to enjoy our time here on earth, and to enjoy not only God, but the things He has given us.
Afterwards, I picked up The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch after having enjoyed Strong and Weak from Crouch last year. I actually intended to read his book on culture-making, but I made an impulse buy of The Tech-Wise Family instead whilst on Amazon. It was pretty aptly timed though, because Crouch writes about 10 guiding principles they’ve implemented in their family to put technology in its proper place. He talks about how they value active creation rather than passive or isolating consumption, and so that has affected what they put in their living room (they have art hanging on the walls and a grand piano, and they cook a lot of their own meals, and they went a decade without a TV). They try to take an hour off of their devices every day, and a day every week, and a week every year. They show up in person to the important events because physical presence is still more powerful than virtual presence. They have access to each other’s devices. Crouch argues that doing real work with your hands is often more fulfilling and enjoyable than doing work on a computer, which I can actually agree with. It was some good things to be thinking about as I started to consider what sort of guiding principles I wanted to implement for my own family.
Though I did want to say - Crouch uses the term “easy everywhere” over and over again, and it kinda gets annoying. And, as someone who enjoys technology, there were some points where I felt like he was unnecessarily antagonistic or dismissive of technology and just wanted to go back to older, simpler times. I’m sure he was just making a point and that no book really needs to be written of how beneficial technology can be, there were just times where I felt like he was erecting a strawman.
I drink a lot more coffee now, with Nora here. I also wake up a lot earlier. Someone was remarking that, for parents, 4 hours is the new 8 hours - and I think that’s pretty true. The first time I had 4 hours in a row, I naturally woke up and was so surprised that Nora was still asleep that I wondered if I should get out of bed and start my day.
But yes. I have been enjoying coffee now, after living in Seattle without drinking drip coffee for more than 5 years. I had gotten a small French Press a while ago, but after Nora came, we went to a garage sale and I stumbled upon a larger French Press and a Chemex for $5. So I’ve been doing 1–2 Chemexes a day and have been buying beans from Victrola (I just bought a fresh batch of beans from Brazil that I’m pretty excited to drink). I make coffee now for people when they come over, so if you’re over and you want coffee, let me know!
We’ve got espresso machines at work too, so I’m trying to do latte art (though, to be honest, I kinda suck at it). And I went to my first coffee cupping a few weeks ago at Victrola (they do free cuppings Wednesdays at 11am downtown).
There’s a lot to say here. Suzi and I have had a lot of good, fun times with Nora. Suzi has been working really hard and breastfeeding and not sleeping all that much and learning a lot, trying to make sure that we’re ready for each next stage of Nora’s life. We’ve been trying to go out, even when we don’t know how it will go (and sometimes, it goes rather poorly) - we don’t want to be dissuaded from doing things just because we are afraid that Nora won’t cooperate.
Suzi and I got to go on a date, thanks to Angela and Erica. We went to this place called Orfeo in Belltown and everything was pretty great - the food, the conversation, and the company. This was the first time since Nora came that we sat down and just sorta breathed and took our time and talked to each other. When we’re at home, even if the baby is asleep, we always have this feeling in the back of our heads of “is Nora still okay?”, but we were able to take a step away that Thursday and it was really nice. Thanks again for the babysitting Angela/Erica!
We also had our 6 year anniversary. We just went out for brunch with Nora at a place called Rock Creek in Fremont. It was okay, but we were in the middle of a fight, so it was more like trying not to fight in public while keeping Nora happy.
And we bought plane tickets to go back next month to see our families. So… pray for us as we explore traveling with Nora even more. It’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure.
Suzi and Angela and I have been going to Reunion Church in Beacon Hill for the last 2 months or so. It’s a year-old church plant, planted from this church called Reach in Kirkland. It’s multicultural. It’s called Reunion as a reference to Ephesians 1:10, which talks about all things being united in Christ.
I got a chance to grab coffee at Victrola with the pastor one Friday and got to hear about his vision for the church and who has been influential in his life and ministry. We talked a lot about Tim Keller’s book Center Church and how Keller thinks contextualization. Everything seems pretty good so far, so our plan is to keep going and get increasingly involved. It’s a time of transition, though, especially as we’re trying to figure out how to balance everything going on and navigate Nora’s constant changes.
This is probably also something that Suzi and I will record to talk about in greater length and candor; transitioning away from CSBC and trying to find a different church has been hard and lonely, but I’m also feeling a lot more free and motivated in my relationship with Jesus. Several people have kept in touch, for which I’m grateful, it’s just weird spending the night in on a Wednesday or a Friday, when most of our friends are together doing a Bible study or church fellowship. But I’m still very much walking with God and enjoying seeing/hearing other aspects of His character emphasized.