Top 6 photos from first family photo shoot

Below are my top 6 photos I cherry picked from our first family photo shoot that took place a couple weeks ago.

As some of you my already know, my daughter Elliott was born recently, on October 3rd (2019). And shortly after, my wife had arranged for a professional photographer — Stephanie BC — to spend half the day in our Pacific Northwest home, scheduling the photographer on a typical, no sunshine Sunday to snap some photos and capture some moments of our growing wolf pack: once four now five (3 humans and 2 dogs).

And I must say, the images turned out nothing short of beautiful; I could not be any happier with not just the end product but the process itself. Apart from one or two photos, all the captured images are not staged, meaning we were not posing or putting on a forced smile or contorting our arms and body in some uncomfortable (but aesthetically pleasing) position. The entire shoot felt organic.

Anyways, enough of the chatter. Here are my 6 photos I hand picked from the our shoot.

Music. Such a gift. Here I am playing guitar and singing for Elliott and my wife. The song is titled “My Little Bird”, which I wrote when Elliott was just a week or two old.
This is how I spend 90% of my time with Elliott: cradling her in my arms and rocking her to sleep.
Here’s my and my first fur daughter: Metric. In her head, she weights 10 pounds still and loves to lean all her weight on those willing.
Look at this cutie staring out the window while I hold her in the foot ball position. I cannot imagine that I’ll be able to hold her like this much longer since her weight is increasing exponentially, my forearms no longer able to sustain the burn.
Yes. She’s peeing all over me. Luckily, this time, the pee only hits my shirt and my jeans. I have been tagged in the eye and mouth (who knew girls and projectile pee like boys).
Me giving Elliott what I call “Kissy kisses” (no idea how I came up with that name) while she rests on top of my wife’s folded legs.

Almost half way through M.S. in Computer Science

I’m almost half way through the OMSCS (online masters in computer science), last week marking the end Spring 2020, my third term in the program. And although I’m looking forward to taking compilers next semester, my mind often wanders into the distant future , my mind fast forwarding to the time in which I’ll be graduating from the program. So, I stitched together a line graph that includes the classes, breaking down each term along with the courses that I’ve already taken (and will take). Here’s what it looks like:

As you can see from the above graph, I’ve historically taken one class per semester (except for the previous semester, when I simultaneously took information security and computer networks simultaneously); taking one class per semester takes the middle path, allowing me to balance school and work and family and other obligations and the millions of my other hobbies (e.g. singing, guitar). So at this current rate, I anticipate that I’ll graduate in Spring 2021 — 2 years from now. Seems like a long time away but it really isn’t. Because as they say: time flies. And It really does. Feels like yesterday when my wife and I were discussing whether it even made sense for me to apply and enroll to this masters program.

Next up: Compilers (theory and practice) and reflecting on fatherhood

For next semester, Spring 2020, I enrolled in what I expect to be one of the most difficult (yet rewarding) courses: compilers – theory and practice. I’m stoked and at the same time, feeling very nervous.

I’m stoked for several reasons. First, according to the previous semester’s syllabus, I’ll be learning a ton of theory: Automata, finite state machines, grammars, predictive parsers. Many of these concepts I’ve learned on my own with my self directed education.

The second reason that I’m elated is that I’ll be given the opportunity of building an entire compiler, from the ground up! No existing code base, all from scratch. That in itself strikes fear in me.

And third, Steve Yegge’s executive summary (on his post on compilers) — “If you don’t know how compilers work, then you don’t know how computers work” — motivates me, making me want to prove (to myself) that I know how computers work.

So with all that good stuff, why am I feeling nervous?

Normally, taking a master’s course while working is manageable. I often carve out about an hour (or sometimes 90 minutes) of my early morning, studying while eating an avocado toast and sipping a ginger tea, headphones wrapped around my head while people are buzzing in the background at a near by café. In addition to the early mornings, I will leverage my one hour lunches, again watching lectures or banging out code for a (school) project.

But my life has changed.

Although my previous routines and rituals worked well for me for the last several years, my life has changed in significant ways. Most obvious is the arrival of my (first) child, Elliott. With Elliott now here (and no longer just an abstract creature curled up in my wife’s belly), I want to make sure that I’m present for her: not just for the big moments (like her first vaccinations) but for the little, day to day moments (in fact, I had one of the weirdest feelings when I stepped into the office this past Monday, my first day back in the office after 4 weeks off of paternity. while staring into the wide screen monitor pinned up against the wall of my not too shabby cubicle, I wanted to be at home, changing Elliott’s dirty diaper).

Elliott with her thinking hat on

On top of all of this, omscentral reviews (the unofficial review website for courses offered by online master’s program at Georgia Tech) suggest that the course demands anywhere between 15-25 hours per week. Those extra 10 hours gotta come from somewhere. But from where? Sacrifice it from hanging out with my life? Or strumming my guitar? Or singing? Or writing music? Or exercising at the gym? Or playing with my dogs? Or spending time with other friends and family?

You see, there’s only so much time (you already knew that) and all the decisions (small and large) are trade offs. These choice reflect our ethos. The sum of where and how we spend our time essentially defines who we are and what we believe in.

Okay. Rant over.

Back to studying (information security and computer networks) on my day off of work — thank you Amazon for offering a ramp back period, allowing me to work 50% (of course my salary is pro rated) and allowing me to pitch in with my family on Thursdays and Fridays.