Solo Trip to San Fransisco (Part 1)

I’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time now. Imagining what it would be like to go somewhere new all on my own and spend some time by myself. At first I thought it would be one or two nights just outside Portland, but then I started looking at Amtrak. I love taking the train. Its so chill compared to flying or driving. Just show up, get on, and relax. No crazy security checks, no waiting for two hours, just get on the train and go. I soon realized that I didn’t want to go north and going south meant heading into the mountains, where it is cold and snowy. So eventually I decided to take the train past the cold mountains and into California. Southern California would have been ideal (so much awesome skating), but I didn’t want to have to sleep on the train for two nights. I eventually settled on San Fransisco. Once I saw this adorable room from which I am typing this, I was sold.

Instead of being completely alone I have two roommates and two house pets around. That means if I feel the need for some socializing its built in. I’ve also already called Ace twice. I miss him a lot. I thought I would miss Mark the most, but I miss Ace the most. I wish he could share my adventure with me. I wish he could see the sights, and smell the smells, and walk all over the neighborhood. But I know I need this. I can’t remember the last time I felt so free. I’m doing whatever I want. I’m making the decisions, and living with the consequences. I know the vacation wouldn’t be the same if he were here. There would inevitably be conflict, there would be give and take, and 99% of the time thats just fine. But right now, there is none of that and its a nice a break. I don’t have to worry about what shows I watch or what games I play. I don’t have to worry if Ace likes it or if its safe for Mark. Its a vacation just for me for the fist time ever.

On the train I mostly played my new 3Ds (a modern gameboy) that Ace gifted me before the trip. I had dinner with three wonderful woman, all older than my mother. Two were on their way to a weekend away with 8 other women in a tiny mountain hotel. They were very excited for a weekend of “wine and cards.” The other woman was traveling to see her daughter and grandchildren in Klamath Falls, where it is very cold and snowy. She kept complaining about how her daughter had to live in such a cold place and her granddaughter had such a cold hobby of ice skating. It was very lighthearted and sweet. After dinner I played more 3ds and read on my kindle. Sleep was elusive. It was very hard to sleep in the coach car. So bad that I’m going to see if they have any roomettes I can upgrade to for the ride home. I got less than 5 hours of sleep and it was very broken.

Despite the terrible sleep I woke up for the last time just before 7am excited for the day. The conductor soon told us we were ahead of schedule and had just a little over 30 minutes till our stop! There was water and palm trees and SUN outside! California!

Taking the bus transfer was simple enough and soon I was stepping off in a new city, with only a vague idea of where I was and how to get to where I needed to go. Instead of immediately figuring out transportation to the AirBnB like I planned I walked toward the water. I was free to go wherever I wanted, and I love being near water. After sitting by the water for a while, I decided to walk down the path. That led me to an incredible farmers market. I wish I could have bought my groceries there. It was hands down the best farmer’s market I have ever been too. Citrus, fresh veggies, and pasture raised meats as far as you could see. Everything was organic and fresh and of the highest quality. I paid an insane amount of money for a grilled cheese, sausage, and egg sandwich, but in the end it was worth it. It came with a fantastic side salad and kept me full almost all day.

I soon discovered I was at the “Ferry Building.” It was a good place to be becuase they had clean public bathrooms which can be hard to find in big cities. Soon enough I was ready to head to my lodgings, but “Super Bowl City” was in the way. Several city blocks were closed off and I had to take a long detour to find an entrance to the underground trains. Figuring out the trains was hard, and I’m sure I looked like an idiot when I couldn’t get the card to scan and let me in the station. We don’t have gates like that in Portland. You just get on. I never realized how spoiled I am by tri-met. Muni is so confusing and expensive and their phone app is garbage. Tri-met is wonderful and I’m much more thankful for that after today!

When I got off the train and came up from underground I really had no idea where I was, or where I was going. The compass in my phone wasn’t much help and I walked the wrong way down the street… pulling my heavy suitcase with my 30lb messenger bag on my back. It was pretty awful. Eventually I figured out I was going the wrong way and headed back. Only one more turn, but I got that turn wrong too and it took me three very long blocks to realize the numbers on the houses were going down and not up. I stopped and bought a bottle of water in a liquor store (they seem to be on every corner here, very different from Portland). After gulping down half the bottle I started off in the correct direction. Soon I was there, but my host was not. Didn’t matter to me, as long as I didn’t have to have my bag on my back anymore I was happy.

One I was checked in and done with the chit-chat I took a long nap. Over two hours. I felt like I was moving the whole time. After waking up groggy, I was ready to head out. I was out the door within 5 minutes of waking up and gave Ace a call while I looked for much needed caffeine. One matcha-latte and one (less than great) egg sandwich later I was reenergized and ready to explore. My only solid goal was to visit Bi-Rite, which was only a few blocks away. I’m glad I did, that place is awesome! So many incredible products all in one place. I bought myself a bag of pork rinds and looked up bookstores on my phone. There were three nearby. I found a park on the way and watched adults play dodgeball for a while. They have courts for dodgeball at the city park. Amazing.

Then I wandered to the bookstore, and after that just kept wandering. Mostly down Valencia St. There seemed to be a lot of cool stuff on that street. I went in a handful of stores, but mostly just walked. I read a lot of menus in windows and wished I had the time, money, and appetite to try all the food, but I wasn’t the least bit hungry. I took a ton of pictures on my phone. I walked and walked. Eventually I needed to find a grocery store and found a Whole Foods. It was the first place that didn’t feel foreign. It was nice to sit in a chair and drink a cold beverage after two hours of being on my feet. After that I headed back to my room and I’ve been relaxing ever since. I picked up some decent Chinese food at the end of the block and I’m drinking a local beer I picked up while I was at Whole Foods, Four Point Beer Co’s Villager IPA. Its much sweeter than a Portland IPA, but still nice and bitter.

This city shares a lot of values with Portland, but is very much its own city. The houses are a completely different style, they more are like the new homes everyone hates in Portland; skinny, tall, row houses. There is more food here. Amazing food is EVERYWHERE. You can’t escape it. There are four restaurants on this mostly residential block. In Portland the good food is only on the main roads. In this neighborhood (I have no idea what neighborhood I’m in), that is not the case at all. I’m excited to try more of the food tomorrow, and I hope to check out peir 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge. If I’m feeling spunky, I’ll walk it. If the weather is amazing, I’ll probably skate. For now, I’m looking forward to a full nights sleep not on a loud, bright, moving train.


I Choose

Today is my eight day of yoga in a row. I’m proud of that. I can’t remember the last time I did anything eight days in a row. I rarely remember to take my vitamins eight days in a row. This is a real time commitment and real work, but its so good. The benefits are already huge.

I’ve struggled to find a mindfulness practice that works for me. I’ve been trying meditation for months, but each time I try its seems to fuel my anxiety more than help it. Body scans have been hell.”Notice the sensation” equals panic about the sensation. But yoga is different. It brings mindfulness to the body in a different way. It harkens me back to my days of martial arts. Being mindful of the pose and constantly working to fix it, but with the freedom to do what feels best is an incredible experience.

I’m on day eight of the Yoga Camp series on the YouTube Channel “Yoga With Adriene.” Its one of my favorite channels. The way she brings guidance while allowing and encouraging freedom in your own practice is wonderful. I did her 30 days of Yoga last year and it took me 3 months to get though it. This time I’m determined to do the videos each day as they come out, until I leave for my trip. Then I hope to finish the last two videos in San Fransisco.

What’s new with this series from the last is that she adds mantras. They aren’t the focus of the video, but its a very nice addition. I’ve used a few of them as journaling prompts already, but today I felt like writing publicly with today’s mantra, “I choose.”

I choose to live life in the slow lane; to have minimal commitments, leaving time to be with family and friends and alone with myself.

I choose to be an excellent steward of my resources including my time, property, and finances.

I choose to live a more mindful life; to slow down and focus on my breath and the world around me, to not get swept away in my own thoughts, but to curate them and to let go of the ones that don’t serve me.

I choose to be healthy; to eat healthy, to be active, to continue this yoga practice and my other healthy habits.

I choose to be peaceful and nonviolent; to communicate in the most peaceful ways possible, and in a calm loving manner, even when it is difficult.

I choose to give my best in everything I do; in writing, in parenting, in my work, in my care for my home and my family and my pets. I choose not to half-ass it.

I choose to read. I choose to be always finding new things to read to expand my center of knowledge and my experiences in ways I couldn’t otherwise. I choose to read widely and in varied genres.

I choose to have fun. I only have one wild life and I choose to experience the fullness that life has to offer though all sorts of experiences, hobbies, adventures, and games.

Most importantly, I choose to love. I choose to always be striving to love each person in my life the best I can and to keep learning what real selfless love looks like in my effort to come closer to it.

On being introverted (Part 1?)

When I realized my life needed some work many months back a friend suggested I do some research into my personality. I did several tests of varying quality and came to the conclusion that I was introverted. I never really thought much about introversion vs. extroversion. I didn’t know what the difference really meant. I mean I have friends and like being around people right, Thats all extroversion really is, correct?

I’ve always had a wide circle of acquaintances in my adult life, but only a very few close friends. I usually have one or two best friends then two to three more close friends and then tons of friends who I’m only friends with on a surface level; people who I go to school or church with or share an interest with. I didn’t realize that only having a few close friends was a part of introversion, but it is. I don’t like letting people into my very innermost inner circle.

I also have learned that being introverted is why I do my best work in solitude. For example, I’m really struggling to write this while I watch two children right now, constantly losing my train of thought, but I won’t be alone until very late tonight so I have to deal with the constant noise of other people. At any moment Ace will walk in the room and just start talking to me, I’ll have to loose my entire train of thought at that point.

I’ve always been this way. I would sleep through classes in school and stay up doing my work alone in my room late into the night, until I felt it was good enough (good enough was a wide range depending on the class and my investment in the class). In college this translated to a lot of late nights alone. I actually loved my one semester in my dorm becuase my roommate was never around. I could go downstairs and get cheap easy food and then stay up late into the night working. When I was ready for a break I’d play some counter-strike on the schools high speed internet, which is something I had never had access to before. Part of me regrets not living alone longer. After one semester I was back at home because I already knew that NIU was a waste of time of money. The program I was in wasn’t what I wanted.

I didn’t live at home long though, I had experienced living away from my loud crazy home and wanted more. I started looking at apartments but my Mom thought apartments were a waste of money, “We have the money for the downpayment so you need to buy.” That sounded good at the time and ended up being a terrible decision that left me pretty broke later (but thats a story for another time). I didn’t feel right about living in a 2 bedroom condo by myself so I quickly invited one of my best friends to be my roommate. That didn’t last long, soon she was getting married and getting an apartment with her new husband. I had a very short time alone before Ace moved in. Not long after that we had our first roommate, we had roommates for the following five years, until we moved to Portland and purposefully bought a house too small to share with roommates.

In all these years I didn’t understand my introversion. I had a love/hate relationship with roommates. I hated the constant flow of people in and out of our second home. But I also loved it. We were a safe place for young people to gather and hang out, but I was so rarely alone. I kept my office a safe space. I could close myself off in there and work on long papers for school or just hide. Our large bedroom was also a sanctuary of sorts, when Mark was born I got a TV and spent many long hours holding him and watching TV from my new armchair. I went a little insane at that point from having no time alone at all. But having a baby that doesn’t sleep will drive anyone insane. We all went a little insane.

I didn’t intend this to be a history of my living situations when I sat down to write, but thats what can happen sometimes when you write. You find yourself in places you didn’t expect to go, but its good, you follow the trail where it leads.

I’m now living in Portland with only my family. I love them, I love them so much. But even this can be hard for me. I need alone time. I didn’t recognize this before, but I do now. This is what introversion is. Its a strong need for that alone time. We introverts need to be alone to recharge, to connect with our true selves, and to do our best work. I didn’t realize until recently how vital this was to my well being. I can’t be my best and be with kids 24/7. I need time alone to read, write, think, and just breath. I need it regularly and in larger doses than extroverts. I crave solitude, and have always struggled to find it, at least now I’m beginning to understand just how deep my need for it is.

Why I love the Library

I enter the door to near silence. There are all types of people here. People spanning various ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.There are a few people in line to talk to the front desk librarian, she speaks softly and helps people find what they need and takes fine payments. There are always people crowded around the newest books, I skip over those becuase I don’t trust them yet. I prefer the tried and true books that have made it to the ongoing collection. There are plenty of books that are not being crowded around.

There are parents quietly reading to their children in the children’s section while I browse the beginning reader books looking for a “Fly Guy” or “Elephant and Piggie” book we have yet to read. I find one and grab it. I scan the “Captain Awesome” books, looking for the second installation while secretly hoping its not there becuase I didn’t much care for the first one, its not.

I walk back towards the non-fiction books and start browsing. I don’t know what I want, I just want more books to read. I love that I can take as much time as I want and no one cares. I can take a book off the shelf and read as much or as little as I want. It’s already as much mine as it will ever be.

A man passes me by in the cramped aisle and says “Hello.” I let out an awkward, “Hi.” I wasn’t expecting to have to talk to anyone during this visit. I tell myself a nod would have sufficed. I never know what to do in those kind of situations. I come here as much for silence as I do for the books. Often I wish for a place like the Diogenes Club (but of course more inclusive), but I have yet to find anywhere more quiet than my own home home when my son is asleep. The library is the best I have found so far, for now it has to suffice, even if people talk to me every once in a while.

There are lots of people in the back clicking away at computers.  They are mostly quiet and I don’t mind them at all. I’m glad for a place where anyone can access technology and the internet. The computers are always full. I’m not here for the computers.

As I round the next aisle I have one book in my hand, but I don’t feel finished yet, so I keep walking and very slowly browsing titles. Memoir, poetry, history, biography, sports; finally I get to the books about writing books and find another title that seems like the right choice for today. I’m surprised to find a book by an author I just recently discovered on a similar trip to Powell’s where I spent lots of time browsing. Since I’m almost finished with that book, this is the perfect choice. It seems I will be reading this authors works in reverse chronological order. Thats fine by me. I enjoy reading things in the unintended order sometimes, it gives you an entirely different perspective then reading them in the “correct” order. Sometimes thats just the perspective you need.

Between my three finds and my three holds I have a good stack to check out. I’m thankful for the computer that allows me to do so without bothering the librarian (they are always busy) and without needing to speak a word to anyone. I check out my books, renew the four others that I choose not to return on this trip, and head out the door off to “The Friendliest Store in Town” where I will have to do far more talking than is necessary to buy groceries.

What does it mean?

What does, “Living Small and Large” mean? Well frankly, I have no idea. I just typed in things that sounded cool until one of them was actually available.

Even so, I think the title is fitting. We are a family trying to find balance. We moved from a big house in a small town, to a small house in a big town. We have a huge yard and a huge dog. I’m pretty small and so are three of my other dogs. We are a two adult household with only one car, but its a big one. When we do something we go all in, we do it up, but at the same time we value simple living and quiet time at home.

We try to live big on a small budget. I budget and track every dollar we make and spend. This makes our small incomes go so much further (I love YNAB). We live big on a small budget by eating mostly at home, but not eating garbage. We spend our grocery budget on good stuff; lots of seasonal produce, pasture raised animal products, and high quality treats (that 80% dark chocolate is calling to me). We try to keep eating out to a minimum becuase the $25 dollars we spent on a pizza tonight can go so much further at the grocery store, even at an expensive store like New Seasons. But some nights I come home and Ace is in the middle of a deep cleaning project and the house is torn apart and we order a pizza. Its ok, I budgeted for a few of those nights.

We try hard to not waste time and money on things that aren’t important to us. We keep life simple, expect in the areas that are our passions. We eat off of handed down mismatched plates and bowls. I’ve only bought a few pieces of dinnerware in my life. Pretty much only the time when all the bowls were broken and I was going to IKEA anyway, so I grabbed two cheap bowls. We drink out of mason jars becuase they only cost one dollar each and they don’t break as easily as most glasses. We just don’t value those things. It doesn’t matter what my plates look like or what they cost? Do they hold food? Works for me!

We feel that way about most household things. The desk and chair I’m using were $20 (for both) at goodwill. Our living room table was $6 and was one of my best finds. When it comes to consumer electronics though we go for quality. This laptop was over two thousand dollars, but its 10 year old this year, and still runs great. It can’t play Cities:Skylines, but I can live with that. If I had bought a cheap laptop I’d have broken at least five of them by now. We are careful about our value to dollar ratio.

We do it up when it comes to our real passions. Ace has a studio full of instruments. I’m not even going to try and count or list them all. Just go watch a few of his videos and you will see what I mean. We have relatively large collections of movies, video games, books, and music. I spent about a grand building a mini ramp in my garage for skateboarding. When its something thats really important to us we do what we can to live large! When it comes to everything else though, we live small and I really like it that way. The title of the blog was picked on a whim, yet somehow it very accurately depicts our lives.

2015 Year in Review

This last year brought a lot of changes for us. Including both Ace and I moving from more traditional employment to self-employment, Mark learning and growing a lot, and lots of dog challenges.

In January I worked hard on planning my first (and very large garden). Ace found out that he would have to buy a new camera or loose his job with Millennium doing exterior home inspections. We chose to let the job go and rely on my income as a nanny while Ace focused on music for a while. His primary goal was to grow his YouTube channel to 10,000 subscribers by the end of the year. We had no idea if he would be able to make a good income from his music, but it was worth a real shot. Ace took his first trip to a convention going to Music and Gaming Fest (MAG Fest). We had no idea how much that would change our lives by making so many new friends through YouTube.

February was relatively uneventful, I was busy working and we were saving money to visit Illinois. Ace was learning the ins and outs of YouTube and getting deeper into mixing, editing, and collaboration. We started working on the garden by having the area tilled and putting up the fence at the end of the month. It was a very hard two days of work, but it was worth it!

In March Mark surprised us by starting to read simple words all on his own! I continued work on the garden by starting seedlings indoors. We also happened to find our new church home by chance. I was driving home from the grocery store when I saw a sign that said, “Sellwood Faith Community.” I went home and found their blog though the power of the internet. We visited just before Easter and loved it. They very much aligned with our values, and are a wonderful group of people that we are so glad to call our friends now. On Easter we had a small easter egg hunt in our backyard for Mark and our friend’s kids. At the end of the month we celebrated Vincent’s sixth birthday, Isaac’s second, and Mark’s half birthday.

In April we started even more seeds for our garden and took a much needed trip to Illinois! We got to stay and Barb and Carl’s house and visit with many other family members. Unfortunately my mom was pretty sick the entire time we were in town (and for many months to follow). While we were in town we explored the Woodstock Square, got to go on a date, and visited the natural history museum and the children’s museum in Rockford. Mostly, we just got a chance to relax for a few days! When we returned to Portland we enjoyed one of our first bonfires of the season with our amazing Portland friends.

May was a very busy month. I took an overnight trip to Seattle to skate with tons of other girls and woman for the annual Wheels of Fortune contest at All Together Skatepark. This event re-inspired me to pursue opening an indoor skatepark. Then we went to an unschooling conference in Vancouver, WA where Mark had an amazing time playing with other kids all weekend. We enjoyed exploring parks, restaurants and markets that the city had to offer.  Later in the month we had an amazing step forward, we refinanced our house from an absolutely terrible loan (that allowed us to move to Portland without jobs), to a more standard loan with a very low interest rate and much lower monthly payments. I signed the paperwork on the morning of my 29th birthday! Throughout the year I focused hard on making more money while lowering all our bills in order to give us the best shot at Ace succeeding in his pursuit of making Music his career. This was a huge step forward in that pursuit. At the same time I was starting to have some frustrations in my work as the job was getting increasingly more difficult and stressful, yet I loved being with kids all day.

June was a challenging month, my Mom got a lot sicker and was thousands of miles away, we were darn near broke with no money for anything beyond food and bills, I was working like crazy in the garden hoping to grow our own food, Aiden was battling an ongoing UTI and bladder stones (a battle that still continues), I was very busy between my day job as a nanny, working skate camps with Skate Like a Girl, and working car seat checks on the weekends. In our little bit of free time we were enjoying our Zoo Membership we had received as a Christmas gift the previous year. I was just holding on, trying to just keep going, just keep going. It was also the hottest weather we had ever experienced in Portland. It was a drought and keeping the garden happy though it all was a challenge. We didn’t have A/C and our house was HOT all the time. We would go walk around the mall to cool off on the days it reached 100 degrees. Every extra dollar I made that month went to Aiden’s vet bills. Though all of this, Ace was slowly growing his YouTube channel and music career. There was a glimmer of hope it was going to work.

July brought more heat and more work. Ace released his amazing Sizzler video on his channel, collaborating with several of his new friends. Soon after he released his 3rd album of Video Game Music Covers. The growth was becoming tangible. The garden was starting to produce lots of food! My efforts were paying off in a big way! Squash, lettuce, beets, chard! And there was only more and more from that point on. More food than we could eat, we gave away lots to friends and neighbors, and fed it to our friends at our bonfires! In Portland there was talk of the unrelenting heat, dildos hanging from power lines, skyrocketing rent, and the impending earthquake. Ace visited his second convention SGC (Screwattack Gaming Convention) where he made even more friends in the the world of YouTube and Gaming. I was starting to experience Anxiety without knowing what it was, my chest would hurt, my heart would beat harder and harder. My stress levels were high, and I wasn’t sure what to do about it but to just keep going.

August was one of the hardest months of my life, my job was the hardest it had ever been. I was starting to have panic attacks. It was SO DAMN HOT OUT. We broke down and bought a portable A/C to keep in the living room. It was well worth the $300. The garden needed so much work and under the weight of ever growing anxiety I was ready to throw in the towel. I knew I needed to quit my job, but part of me really didn’t want to. I had my last day of work at the end of August. I also scheduled my first visit with a therapist at the end of August. Anxiety was taking over my life and the last thing I was going to do was let it get worse. We planned a trip to San Juan Island (my favorite place in the world) as a vacation to let me have a real break.

Early September wasn’t much better than August. I felt like I lost those months to anxiety and then depression. Was I failure for quitting my job? How were we going to get by? Would this ever end? I sold my Motorcycle, I sold my McDonalds stock (Thanks Grandma), I sold everything I could so I could continue to take time off work and work on myself. It was the right the choice, but it was really really hard. I spent some time finishing my rough draft of my skatepark business plan. Soon Mark was turning 5. He was a fluent reader by this point and a Minecraft expert. For his birthday we got him a 16in bicycle, which he loved! He’s a very good bike rider and jumped right on the new bike for a ride down the road with Ace. Late in the month we took our trip to San Juan and Orcas Islands. It was wonderful getting away for a few short days (it was too short). We got to see the new baby whales in “J” and “L” pods as well as a lot of other wildlife. I injured myself at the famed Orcas Island Skatepark, we read though “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” with Mark at the campsite and did light photography as a family.

In October I started planning an in-home childcare business, it was my new idea for doing childcare in a less stressful way, it was a very slow start. Mid October brought one of my most favorite events of the year, The Portland Retro Gaming Expo! We had several friends come stay at our house and we all went to the convention together to roam the con floor, see panels, and most importantly, play video games in the massive arcade! It was a great weekend, but I was still struggling pretty bad with Anxiety and this weekend was no exception. I often had to escape the chaos of the convention and the crowded restaurants to catch my breath and slow down and try not to freak out. At the end of the month we celebrated the rainiest Halloween I’ve ever seen in my life. It was insane. Mark dressed as a creeper, becuase he wanted “A clothes costume.” Becuase most store bought costumes are too itchy and uncomfortable. After trick-or-treating we had our, now traditional, dance party and Chinese food.

November brought the real start to my new business doing childcare in my home for other unschooling families. I spent most days at home with Mark and many days we were joined by one or two other kids close to his age. I was finally making an income again! It felt good. At the same time I was starting to see the real benefits of going to therapy. I was having far fewer episodes of panic. We spent November mostly at home. It was honestly a pretty uneventful month, which is exactly what we needed. By this point Ace was starting to make real money on composition jobs. He was writing music for YouTube shows and podcasts and had several other opportunities on the horizon. Aiden has continued to have health struggles throughout the year, allergies, chronic UTI’s, and a leg injury that had us supporting his back end with a towel to help him walk. He is healing, but its slow.

In early December we were blessed with a visit by Ace’s Parents Barb and Carl. They stayed with us for 5 days. We had a lot of fun with them seeing Christmas lights, eating lots of food, and just hanging out. Ace and I got to have a whole date day. It was so awesome! I can not wait to have another. We already miss them and hope they can come back soon. In December Ace had an amazing opportunity. He had been covering music from the successful independent video game, Undertale, when his friend Rich preposed they release all their covers together on an album. Ace worked an insane amount to make this happen. He worked more hours in two weeks than I’ve ever seen. Getting 12 songs arranged, recorded, mixed and mastered. The album was released on December 21st, and was huge success. By the end of the year we had accomplished our goal, for Ace to be making enough money from music for us to pay all the bills. Not only does the money keep coming from the Undertale album, but Ace has a few composition jobs lined up for January as well. He will also be launching his Patreon page in the coming weeks. This is amazing.

Christmas was wonderful, filled with good times with family and friends. We mostly stayed at home, inviting friends to join us for Christmas eve and celebrating by doing a lot of nothing on Christmas day, exactly how we like it. We built Mark’s new lego sets, read lots of books, and played plenty of video games. We closed out the year by having some fun around Portland and having a very quiet New Years at home.

If you want to keep up with our adventures in 2016, keep an eye on this blog, and follow me on twitter @AWatersCPST

(And Ace hit 7,777 subscribers overnight on New Years Eve. Not quite 10,000, but a number we are very very happy about none the less.)