2015 Year In Review

It’s new year again, and obligatory new year resolution time. I think I’m already past that practice: will try to put down iPhone and Macbook more when I’m at home though (I was referring to this comment on 2014 review: Leave the iDevices/mac if I can). I’ve eaten my own words on this one. My younger daughter is at a fun age (17.5 months), being a toddler learning to talk, I’ll play with her more, and of course continue my weekend chauffeur job for my older daughter (skating, dancing/pre-ballet etc).

Job Change
I changed my job again this year. I was not expecting it at the beginning of the year or did any planning. But it worked out so far. Again I hope I can stay at my current place longer 🙂

Personal finance
I stopped contributing to the Exxon mobile DRIP program; started put same money ($100 per month) into IBM DRIP program instead, still using ComputerShares. Was able to save some money in the emergency fund account. But still spent quite some on the following items.

Visited Disneyland;

Got a piano and ready to start piano lesson for Serenity in 2016;

Replaced AC and furnace, the new one (American Standard, same as the Trane brand) works like a charm, also bought two mattresses (one from Mattress Firm local store, another one from US-mattress online store). Long term it’s going to save some money on electricity as this one is more energy efficient.

Workout, exercise, swim
I have been doing swimming for a few years at JCC (both Chesterfield and Creve Coeur locations), as I live near the Creve Coeur location, and I worked near the Chesterfield location last few years. That has been changed as the new baby (July 2014), and new job requirement (June 2015). I have been using UP Band, Fitbit app on iPhone 5s, and in June this year I got Fitbit Charge the same time I changed job. Trying to get 10,000 steps per day per the recommendation. Still try to get some swimming as time permits.

I started walking in the trails at Laumeiers Sculpture park since last Winter: trying to breath some fresh air during lunch break at work. The new place does not have a nature trail like the Sculpture park, but it does have a one mile paved trail. It’s good enough for me. I usually walk at lunch break, when weather permits. Otherwise I would walk the stairs, as not good as outside, but it does the job. One thing I learned over the years is we need to take care of our own health while working, because at the end of the day, we need that to provide for our family, also to enjoy things (this hits home especially whenever I get sick). There is an excellent “Under the Radar” podcast on this ergonomics topic. I recall at my old work place, my coworker had surgery on the capal-tunnel (a common injury from using too much keyboard or mouse). Back pain is also common among office workers (sitting too long). The walk/stretch from time to time is a good way to prevent/reduce that.

Fitbit_badges_2015

Kids

Serenity (Yoyo) is 5 years old, and she started Kindergarten in the fall. She was in preschool at Immanuel Lutheran Day school in the Winter/Spring, and JCC/Andrew Academy for summer camp. In the fall she started taking school bus to Spoede. We live fairly close to the school and have been playing in the Beirne Park across the street since she was little. Now we finally are in the school. Serenity seems adjusted well with all the changes. Again I feel guilty about some of the school change (refer my 2014 review), but kids being kids, she seems does not mind. She also continue the pre-ballet class, skating class, and I found a good skating coach for her private lesson. She seems like both. One thing we noticed is her right leg is much stronger than her left, and she was not very good at balancing. I recall a while ago at Gymnastics class she was a bit afraid of balance beam. Now it came home to roost. It’s good to find out late than never.

On academics side of things, we understand parents need to help out more due to the student/teacher ratio. I volunteered at Math Facts Scholar (a bit like Tae Kwon Do testing with Math). And my wife helped her practice at home. Serenity was not into math by nature. But she is learning and catching up quickly.

Sophia: obviously she grew a lot. In August (middle or late?), she started to walk. She also started to talk not to long after that. She enjoys mimicking our words, actions, and play with us. Right now her main thing is “separation anxiety”, when her mom left her. Recently I had a few opportunities to watch her when her mom was away, e.g., this morning (Jan 2nd Serenity first piano lesson), I had to hold her on the Clayton downtown (Wydown Blvd) for half an hour till she fell asleep. I started to appreciate how much my wife has absorbed Sophia’s crying since she was born.

More about looking at iPhone while walking
This is getting popular nowadays as we saw people doing this not only in office hallway, but also in parking lot (I know I did both). There are two recent death caused by people who looked at smartphone while walking (did not pay attention to the road, here is a Chinese one, and a US one). In the US, there are tons of incidents caused by people texting while driving. It’s just a dumb reason to die, or be hurt (or hurt someone else). The keyword here is “distraction”, I recall once I looked at the slack app when I got out of the car, and left my baby girl behind. Then I realized it after 1 minute or 2.

Odds and ends
My minivan was bitten by mouse/rodent/squirrel again, the good thing is it only happened once. See my post in 2014 here.

Moved this site from shared host to digital ocean;

Started carrying pagers once a while (welcome to the production support world). When I first encountered real production problem I was really nervous. And when my rotation is done, I felt so much relieved 🙂 ;

Did not work on my own iOS apps, did receive a tvOS dev kit but have not done much. Had a small scare when upgrade to iOS 9, eventually was able to resolve by doing it on Macbook;

Last but not least, I want to think Kirby Turner, who writes his year end review year after year, sharing his stories on solo-prenurship, and inspires me to write mine 🙂