Happy Birthday Ava!

Today our beautiful baby girl turns one year old! It’s so hard to believe that she’s already been with us a year, especially since it seems like just yesterday that I was holding her in the hospital. This has easily been the best year of my life and it looks like things are only getting better. We are hard at work this week preparing to move back to Seattle but will be taking time out to do a photo shoot with Ava. My friend Lisa from work is coming over this afternoon to take pictures of her and she’s going to get another chance to dive into a cake and get messy. We’re also thinking about doing something with balloons, maybe even pink and blue balloons since we don’t know if Ava is going to have a little brother or little sister.

Tomorrow our moving Pod will arrive and we will spend the day filling it with all our stuff. Hopefully everything will fit… I’m working my final two days at ScrollMotion on Tuesday and Wednesday, then we hit the road on Thursday morning. The goal is to make it to Redding, CA on Thursday, which is the half–way point, then drive from Redding to Seattle on Friday. We’re staying Friday night with Dana and her family, then taking Amy to the airport early Saturday morning. We get the keys to our new house on Saturday but our Pod doesn’t arrive until the following Friday, which means we will be living with practically nothing for a week. It’s going to be tough but there is no question that it’s all worth it.

My mom flew back to Vegas yesterday and it was tough for her to leave. She is sad because we won’t be able to hop in the car and drive over for a visit anymore but we’re committed to flying her out to visit us more often, plus we’ll still be going to Vegas a couple times a year. Being further from her is the toughest part of this move but she agrees that we’re doing the right thing. I still can’t believe I’m starting at Amazon.com a week from tomorrow. I have been studying constantly to make sure my skills are sharp when I get there. Next time I write we’ll be in the Northwest!

Happy first birthday baby girl. We love you so very much!!!

Ava’s 1st birthday party

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which was already one of my favorite holidays, but it’s so much more special now that we get to celebrate Ava’s birthday as well. This was an extra special birthday because it was her first one, and we had a house full of people to enjoy it with. There were ten adults (my Mom, Amy, Tom, Trevor, Emily, Derek, Laruen, John, Jessica, and myself) plus three babies (Malena, Cole, and Ava), and everyone had a great time.

We were waiting for this long weekend to break some very exciting news to our Mom’s in person, which is that Jessica is pregnant with our second child! We couldn’t help ourselves and ended up telling several other family members already, but were so excited to wait and see the expressions on our Mom’s faces when they got the news. Jessica is now six weeks along and has a due date of July 15. Obviously we’re thrilled about adding to our family and have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

My mom and I did the cooking for Thanksgiving and everything turned out delicious, then we got to enjoy Ava opening presents and getting messy with her first birthday cake. There is a 5 minute video of this below. Yesterday was definitely a day of enjoyment but today, and every other day leading up to the move back to Seattle next week, are days of work. We got a lot of work done today boxing things up but there is still so much to do. Luckily we will have the help of my Mom, Amy and Tom tomorrow, plus we have Amy staying to make the drive up to Seattle with us, which will be a huge help with Ava.

We’ll be arriving in Seattle a week from today and obviously there is so much to do between now and then but I have no doubt it will all go as planned. We also recently got the news that we were approved to rent the house that we were most interested in. It’s in northeast Bellevue right on the border between Bellevue and Redmond. Luckily for me the jiu–jitsu school I was most interested in is only 1.5 miles from our home and we have easy access to the freeway when commuting to the city for work. Having a house situated is a huge relief. Here’s the video of Ava with her first birthday cake.

My new job at Amazon.com

Today is a day Jessica and I will never forget because this is the day that I was offered a job at Amazon.com. I was contacted yesterday by the recruiter I’ve been dealing with and offered a phone interview today for a position as a front end web developer at Amazon. I didn’t know if I was ready, or qualified, but I studied all night last night and came into it today feeling cautiously optimistic. The interview was only about 30 minutes and consisted mainly of technical questions about web development. By the time it was over I felt like it went pretty well. I only stumbled on a couple questions and felt like I had a good rapport with the interviewer. Less than an hour after the interview I was contacted by my recruiter asking me to call him because he had news about my interview. To make a long story short, he told me that the manager liked me and felt that I would be a good fit for the job!

I’m initially being hired as a contractor, but the Amazon manager specifically said he intends to make me into a full–time employee before my 3 month contract expires. This is a common scenario for tech companies, and it’s exactly how I got my start at ScrollMotion. Rather than go through an extended interview process, it’s easier for the company to give the candidate a chance as a contractor. This allows them to work with the person for an extended amount of time without any long–term committments. If I don’t do a good job they can simply let my contract expire, but if I show dedication and the ability to learn, I will be brought on. At ScrollMotion I was not only offered a full–time position when my contract expired, I was also offered a raise and a senior title. My only concern was getting the chance to come in as a contractor because I know I will get the full–time position once they get to know me and see what kind of dedication I have to my work.

Obviously all of our family members have been extremely excited for us about this opportunity. The look on Jessica’s face when I saw her tonight was priceless. This is a life–changing experience for us and I can’t believe it’s all happening. It’s also going to be a crazy next few weeks. We are now tasked with hosting Thanksgiving next week, then moving to Seattle the following week. This means lots of planning and hard work, but it’s all well worth it. I think we will look back on this day for years to come as the day our lives changed forever. In my industry, it doesn’t get any bigger than working for Amazon.com and I can only equate it to getting called up from the minors to the big leagues. We have a ton of work to do over the next couple weeks but can’t wait to get back home to Seattle and visit with our loved ones. Many updates coming soon!

Guest Bartending at The Tractor Room

Last night I did a guest bartending shift at the Tractor Room, which was the last restaurant/bar I worked at before switching to full–time development work. I just looked back at our old website posts and saw that my last shift at the Tractor Room was on Nov. 9, 2011, which makes it exactly one year and one day later that I did my guest shift. I knew it would be a good time but it went even better than I expected. It was so great seeing everyone and getting caught up. I was a little nervous on my way in because I hadn’t made any of their drinks in a year and most of them are pretty labor intensive, but it couldn’t have gone any better. Everyone there was really happy to see me and I was having a blast all night. They told me that they would love to have me back again anytime so hopefully I’ll do it again soon.

There’s been a lot going on with us lately. We’re only two weeks away from Ava’s first birthday and we’re having a bunch of family out to celebrate it over the Thanksgiving holiday. There also might be a job change in my near future, as well as a possible move back home to Seattle. I was recently contacted by a recruiter from Amazon.com about a web development position that they’re hiring for. It was encouraging that they found me, and a bit surprising. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and working for them would be a dream. It simply doesn’t get much better as a web developer than working for Amazon so I’m very hopeful that it works out. I’m doing a phone interview with them this Wednesday and if it goes well they will invite me to Seattle for an in–person interview. The phone interview is highly technical so I’ve been spending a lot of time preparing. I’ve also been getting lots of advice from Tom and my Uncle Jim about interviewing.

If I do get this position it means that we will be moving back to Seattle. Jessica and I have talked a lot about it and we really like the idea of going back home in order to be closer to family and friends. It can be tough living in San Diego with no family in the area and we want Ava to grow up knowing her Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. We also have several friends in Seattle with children that are about Ava’s age so it would be great for her to interact with them. I’ve already decided that if this Amazon opportunity doesn’t pan out I’m going to continue looking for other positions in Seattle. Obviously it could be a lot worse than living in San Diego but I’m confident that something in Seattle will come up sooner than later.

Here’s a couple recent pics of our beautiful baby girl. I can’t believe she’s almost a year old!