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Life with a little one is so busy! It seems like most everything else takes a back seat. Felix is doing great though, and he’s growing so fast. He’s four years old now, and he’s correcting his grandmother’s English as well as my rarely-spoken Vietnamese. He seems to enjoy preschool, though he is usually quiet and reserved, definitely more so than your average four-year-old.

Despite our busy pace, Nhu and I were able to take a week off for a trip to Iceland and New York City. Grandma Thu stayed home and watched Felix, so it was just the two of us. Icelandair wanted a pretty hefty sum for the nonstop flight from Denver, so we flew on United through Newark instead. We rented a car when we got to Iceland and travelled the entire south half of the island. Although this year has been the country’s least sunny summer since 1984, we were incredibly lucky: we only had one day of rain and a half day of gray, with the sun showing up the rest of the time we were there. It never really got dark, and we took advantage of the beautiful weather, hitting up all the Iceland scenery we could. We stayed at a nice little bed and breakfast, though if we had it to do again, we’d probably stay at a few different places to cut down on the driving. I definitely want to go back again to see the north side of the island, as well as some of the mountains on the eastern coast.

On our way back to Denver, since we were stopping in Newark anyway, we spent a few days in New York City. Nhu had never been, and I hadn’t been since my one trip right after college. We did most of the things that I didn’t get to the last time I was there, such as riding the Staten Island Ferry and walk along the High Line. We also visited the new One World Trade Center, as well as the nearby memorial, which was sobering; the last time I was in the city there was nothing there but holes in the ground.

Photos from both Iceland and New York City are now posted; I just got around to finishing them up today.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 3:14 PM
Filed under: Family, Felix, Iceland, Nhu, Travel

On December 21st, my mom closed on her brand-new home in Thornton. This was a momentous occasion for her, as it was a huge stepping stone after she and my dad separated nearly two years ago. My brother and I moved much of her things the weekend after closing. She still has a storage unit to empty out and a lot of unpacking to do, and we are not without challenges ahead, but I believe things are definitely looking up.

After the move, Felix and the rest of us enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home. Felix is now three years old, so this was the first Christmas that he was really able to understand things. Needless to say, he loved every minute of it, from seeing Santa and leaving him milk and cookies, to opening his (and others’) presents. He’s already anticipating Christmas 2018.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 10:20 PM
Filed under: Family, Home, Felix, Nhu

As you may have noticed, I've posted a new version of my web site. This new version is re-written from the ground up, using some great new tech. The photo experience has been re-imagined, but other areas of the site retain a similar though improved user experience. The entire site is now much more mobile-friendly, and more responsive as well.

As for the new tech that's driving everything, the site is now a single-page application. The client-side is wirtten entirely in React. On the server, the application is hosted from an ASP.NET Core process running in IIS, which handles server-side rendering of the React components via something called the JavaScriptViewEngine. This view engine is used instead of the standard Razor view engine, and essentially hands off the rendering of a top-level React component to Node.js. Everything is tied together by Redux, which handles all of the client-side state. It gets its initial state from the server-side render depending on which "page" was initially requested, and retrieves additional data as needed from the server's Web API.

Building the new site was a great deal of fun; combining React with ASP.NET Core proved to be an interesting challenge, but I think the combination is elegant. The server is responsible for providing data, the initial state, and the initial render to the UI, but the UI drives everything else. Developing the new site has kept me up late many nights over the last few months, but I've learned a fair amount in the process. Still, it is nice to finally get it out the door!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 2:06 AM
Filed under: Web Site