I turned 43 years old on March 4, 2018. I love putting together retrospectives as it’s a good way to focus on perspective over time.

On March 14th, Bright launched on ProductHunt. The product was upvoted 498 times and 232 companies created a beta account that first week - it was awesome!

That excitement was short-lived though as we failed to raise a seed round of funding by a self-imposed deadline. We put the business on hold shortly after, and eventually decided to shut it down. I wrote a post about the experience, and frankly still disheartened by the sequence of events. It’s really hard to build a company. Eight years of bootstrapping Signal taught me a lot about what I wanted (and didn’t want) from a company I was running, thus I made the decision to call it. If you’re reading this and would like to talk more about this experience, or the experience of building and selling the company before it, I’d love to chat. Thank you to everyone that helped us along the way, you’re support is, and always will be, invaluable.

On March 17th we celebrated Eleanor’s 2nd birthday. I baked this cake for her:

Eleanor's birthday cake Vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream frosting

In April, we visited the good land of Colorado to ski in Breckenridge and spend time with friends in Boulder. Oh, how we love Colorado! Here’s a picture we took outside of Colorado College after attending an interactive demonstration called Raptors of the Rockies:

Family In Colorado 80% look-at-camera rate

On May 21st, I rode in the GFNY with friends Matt, Jordan, and Dana. GFNY is a cycling championship with 15 rides across the world - the New York ride departs at base of the George Washington Bridge, traverses north through New Jersey along the Hudson River, and then back again. While I enjoyed the ride, my favorite part of the trip was hanging out with these friends in New York City - riding bikes, looking for good coffee, and eating a lot.

Gfny Lining up for GFNY

At some point in the spring, Jack moved up from Mites to Squirts in hockey. He’s on the River Dogs, a team playing out of McFetridge, a park district rink a mile from our house. In June they won their division in the playoffs:

Jack River Dogs

Caelin also played at McFetridge with the River Pups, a scrimmage league that feeds into the River Dogs. Evie also started skating too:

Evie ADM

I coached baseball in the spring and fall. This was my third season coaching and I continue to love it despite not playing it growing up. At some point these kids will expand beyond my capabilities, but they’re still young enough that me showing up with the right attitude (and drills taken from YouTube) is what matters. Related, I love seeing all the kids I’ve coached around town. The phrase “Hey coach!” is always a wonderful head turner.

Jack Baseball Jack Judge, Colorado Rockies - Welles Park Juniors, 2017

Caelin Baseball Caelin Judge, Arizona Diamondbacks - Welles Park Rookies, 2017

In July, I joined ParkWhiz as CTO after several months of getting to know the team. If you think about how the world of transportation is changing over the next 5–10 years with autonomous vehicles coming online, you’ll understand what piqued my interest. I’m to build an API layer on top of the world of parking and push this industry forward in the same way that Uber and Lyft removed friction from the ride-hailing experience. Here I am four months in talking with Charlie Wojkowski about the release of our Alexa skill on NBC:

“Alexa, ask ParkWhiz to book parking”

FWIW, avoid crashing your bike the day before you’re scheduled to go on air. Charlie powdered me up a bit before the camera started rolling, but you’ll notice my head still appears banged up.

In September, we drove to Iowa to attend a family reunion. We broke the trip up by staying one night at the Adventureland Resort (which I have fond memories from when I was a kid), and the next night at my father’s. On the way to my father’s place, we stopped in at the Des Moines farmers market (which was massive in scope and incredible). Here’s a picture of my dad, his wife Donna, our kids, and a bunch of my nieces and nephews:

Family In Albia Cousins!

In October, we returned to Iowa to see my younger brother get married. Here’s a photo from the big day:

Bannister Wedding

In November, we celebrated Evie’s 5th birthday, and Jack’s 9th birthday. Evie asked me to make a unicorn cake, which you can see below. Though I failed at my first multilayer cake design, it was delicious nonetheless.

Unicorn Cake The “unicorn” head fell of shortly after the picture was taken

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Milwaukee. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - hands down.

In December we stuck around Chicago as Erin was due in January and it didn’t make sense to travel. We invited family over for Christmas:

Christmas Day Christmas day!

Winter vacation for the kids looked a lot like this (running out for hot chocolate):

Hot Chocolate Hot chocolate not pictured

For New Year’s Eve, I made a lemon pound cake to ring in 2018 (#dadswhobake?):

Nye Cake

Erin fell asleep early, but the kids and I powered through:

Eating Nye Cake Hello, 2018!

I closed out the year with 4K miles on the bike (56% via commute) and 2.8M steps:

2017 Stats

On January 17, we celebrated Caelin’s 7th birthday at the Chicago Fire Pitch:

Caelins Birthday Caelin’s birthday party

On January 22nd, we welcomed Avery into the world:

Welcome Avery June Judge Hello, Avery!

That, plus a bunch of fun travel for work, is a wrap.

This post was originally posted on Medium