2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

Our new home

2016. Some people are calling it a dumpster fire of a year with the horrible election, refugees from war and natural disasters, and some significant artists that we lost. For me it was a super stressful year but it was mostly for good things. In May we welcomed Mia Jolee Briggs to our family. She is the cutest little baby but she was a little more difficult at first than my son Ryker. Luckily I had 2 weeks of paternity leave, 2 weeks vacation afterwards and my wife Alyssa (teacher) had the whole summer off.

After living in our house for a few months with 2 kids, Alyssa found a bigger house she wanted. It was only a mile down our same street so we went for it. Our house got offers the same day it went up for sale. We moved in September and got settled in pretty fast. We have a lot more space and a lot less to fix. We're closer to the in-laws (our daycare), a playground and soccer fields.

Over the last year or so I have been seriously looking for a new job. My job at Gannett was alright. It taught me a lot of skills but there wasn't anything new to learn or any higher position I wanted. I made enough to almost support my family but not enough to live comfortably. I had 8 interviews at 5 businesses near the end of 2015 and this year I had 4 interviews at 3 businesses. I got so close with a few 2nd interviews and when they didn't work out I got pretty discouraged a few times. Finally in October I got an amazing offer from EMC Insurance. After working 7 years at Gannett the hardest part about leaving was leaving the people. I worked with some very talented folks and made a few lifelong friends. I only moved a few blocks away so I can still visit my friends for lunch anytime. My new job is working with the EMC Insurance Corporate Communications team and their other 3 designers. I'm doing a little more print design and also getting so many learning opportunities in photo/video shoots and animation in After Effects.

Ryker taking photos with our new lights

I tried to simplify my freelance design work this year by finding a client that had relativity consistent work for me with real estate logos. I have a lot less time having 2 kids now, so I wanted to focus on logos because I enjoy it the most and do it relatively fast most of the time.

I also wanted a creative challenge and to not just do the easy thing. So I invested a little more money and time into my photography. I upgraded my camera and got some cheap studio lights and backdrops. I upped the quality of my own kids portraits and did my first professional portrait shoot. I also shot my brother-in-law's engagement photos.

Ryker turned 3 in August and is getting so smart. His memory impresses me everyday as well as his creative story telling. He is so funny just repeating what we say and with the little songs he makes up. He started having an imaginary friend named Nugget and Nugget's girlfriend Dee. There is always drama between those two. Ryker also loves watching breakdancing and music videos. He watches them on youtube just studying them and then trys to dance to them. It's very entertaining. I bought a Google Home smart speaker and he learned how to request songs and videos to the chromecast pretty fast. We're thinking of finding him a hip hop dance class for kids before he gets too shy. He is also in his terrible 3's where he throws fits and is unreasonable when we ask him to eat dinner, get ready to leave somewhere, and when we deny him the pounds of candy he always wants.

Mia is almost 8 months old now and she is rolling, army crawling and sometimes regular crawling all over our new house. She has been eating baby food and about to move up to the next stage. She is bigger than Ryker was at this age. She is always smiling and laughing at Ryker. I can't wait until they can play for real.

So that's it. Just had a baby, moved and started a new job. All great things but I'm glad it's over. I'm ready to learn new things at work, make my house awesome and just enjoy my family.

Happy New Year!

Examples of my work at EMC Insurance

Examples of my work at EMC Insurance

Here some some examples of my projects at my new job with EMC Insurance. I have had a variety of work to do like posters, brochures, web graphics and animated videos. I worked on a video shoot for a commercial and made some animated pieces to use for the internal video. So far it's been exciting and I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished and learned so far.

My first animated video for EMC Insurance

My first animated video for EMC Insurance

Check out the EMC Insurance holiday video that I designed and animated. I pulled the star and the color palette from their holiday card and edited some Des Moines skyline illustrations. I drew the EMC Tower myself. This is my first video using After Effects and one of my first projects at my new job at EMC. I still am learning how to do easing in an efficient way, but I had a lot of fun with the star/snow effects and I am pretty happy with it. 

Our holiday wish to you: Celebrate the magic, beauty and wonder of the holiday season.

Mia: 6 Months Old

Mia: 6 Months Old

Dana Family 2016

Dana Family 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016

Goodbye Gannett

Goodbye Gannett

Today is my last day with Gannett and the GIADC. I have worked here for 7 years today. I am going to miss working with all of my friends in digital and campaign team, but I will definitely stay connected. I'll miss the super casual atmosphere and playing ping pong everyday. This was my first real design job and I learned how to edit photos, animate in Flash and Edge, design logos and ad campaigns. I have been looking for a new job for awhile and finally found a design position at EMC Insurance. I'll be joining a much smaller team and will get to do all sorts of design projects and do a lot more animation and video editing. My family has been super busy lately with baby Mia, selling our house, moving in to our new house and now me starting a new job. I'll have next week off to watch the kids and maybe organize the garage so we can park our cars in there. I start at EMC on the 17th and I am very excited! I'll be joining my friend Justin Bartz at EMC so I won't be too lonely, but I'm only 3 blocks away from my Gannett friends so hit me up for lunch anytime.

     



  

  


 
   
    
      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
                   Mia eating her first rice cereal 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
                   Mia trying on costumes 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
                   Ryker getting excited 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
                    
                
               
             
          

          
        

      
    
   

  

 




 
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Vala's Pumpkin Patch

Vala's Pumpkin Patch

Marbled orb-weaver (Araneus marmoreus)

Marbled orb-weaver (Araneus marmoreus)

Mia is 4 Months Old!

Mia is 4 Months Old!

Alex and Amira Engagement

Alex and Amira Engagement

Iowa State Fair 2016

Iowa State Fair 2016

I didn't get any photos in the fair this year, but we had a good time and tried some new food.

The Big Slide

Aftermath of Ryker going down the slide.

The Leinie Lounger

Happy 3rd Birthday to Ryker!

Happy 3rd Birthday to Ryker!

Lake Michigan Vacation

Lake Michigan Vacation

I took the family on a 3 day weekend trip to a couple spots along Lake Michigan.