2016 Year in Review

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” -Proverbs 23:7 KJV

Grandmommy Funeral

Grandmommy’s Funeral in Tipton

In January, my wife’s grandmother, Helen, died and my Grandpa Stauffer started to get sick. My oldest daughter turned 12 and my wife took her to Universal Studios. My mom ended chemo therapy and started radiation treatment. I flew to Orlando for work at GoServicePro.

Erich at Goservicepro

Erich at the WWETT16 Show in Indianapolis

In February, my best friend, Jason Cobb, told me he was moving to Wisconsin. My brother, Mitch, moved into a new house. Skinny and Company offered me full-time employment. On the last day of the month, GoServicePro moved offices and I let them know I was moving on.

Erich and Jason at the Hi-Fi

Erich and Jason at the Wakey Wakey Concert in Fountain Square

In March, my Grandpa Stauffer died. Our family decided to wait to get together. I began working nights at Skinny and Company and went full time March 28th. I started to notice that our kids were starting to grow up.

daddy-and-amalia-2016

On the weekends I would take the kids down to the park by the church. The Catholic church had decided to tear down the old church in the background as maintenance costs were too much to repair it.

samuel-and-kevin-swinging-2016

Working at Skinny was fun and exciting, but also challenging. We were setting up new systems and so I had to do a lot of learning really quickly. This also uncovered other areas, which needed improvement so there was a lot to do.

erich-at-skinny-coconut-oil

My mom’s cancer went into remission and her hair started to grow back. I admired her pursuit of health and her consistently positive attitude through the whole ordeal. Here she is at a band concert:

moms-hair-2016

In April I went and visited Jason in Wisconsin. It was a long drive up there and back, but I’m glad I did it. We walked along the Mississippi river and up on top of the bluffs. While I was there my wife told me she was pregnant.

erich-jason-lacrosse-2016

Later on that month I went to my first Pacer’s game with Skinny. That’s Mike, Luke, me, and Matt in the picture. Jordan, Landree, and Mike’s wife were also there (she was pregnant, too).

erichs-first-pacer-game

Samuel keeps growing up. He really likes going to the park. He’s my little buddy.

samuel-in-tree-2016

At the end of April we drove out to Missouri to see Peggy before going on to Dixon for the funeral for Grandpa Stauffer.

kids-with-peggy-2016

It was a good way to remember Grandpa.

grandpa-stauffer-funeral-2016

Here we are all together in front of the church where my parents got married.

dad-mom-family-church-2016

In May I finally setup my own office at Skinny. My brother-in-law, John, got married, and Suzanne and I went to a “Rev Indy” event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Skinny.

erichs-skinny-office-2016

By the end of the month, I stopped to smell the roses. I bought a season pass to Eagle Creek Park and would go walking there during lunch kind of like I used to when I worked at Worksmart Systems.

smell-the-roses

I took the boys out there, too.

boys-at-eagle-lake

We went to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It was my first time going. It was hot.

race-day-2016

And we started going to the Silver Beach off Lake Michigan.

kids-silver-beach-michigan-2016-may

In June, Jason and I went to Chicago. I’ve been to Chicago with Jason more than any other person (so far). We watched a Cubs game.

We road bikes to China town to see the famous “Post No Signs” sign. It wasn’t there anymore, but we remembered it.

In July I thought I was going to Atlanta, but I didn’t get to go so I went to the 100 Acres Woods instead.

I went and saw my mom playing in the Greenwood band at a Greenwood park. She did good!

Worlds collided when Hans from GoServicePro went out with me and Mike from Skinny and Company to Amber Indian.

Kids got some ice cream and started growing up.

In August I went on a walk around Tipton with Samuel.

Magdalena left me a note.

We went and visited Jason and his family in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

And here’s us at the top of a bluff.

Here’s the office I had setup for a while at Skinny.

In September I bought a new bike (the first bike I’ve ever bought myself as an adult). My goal is to ride the Hilly Hundred in 2017.

Me and Magdalena went for a walk in Carmel on the Monon.

I took Samuel for ice cream.

Kevin learned how to ride a bike.

And I started going to the gym (or at least took at least one picture of myself at a gym).

In October I told Skinny I was moving on and I had Mike and Matt take this picture with me (thanks to Allison for taking it).

Carmina had fun seeing Skinny Coconut Oil at grocery stores around Indianapolis. She’s a good spokesperson.

I went and visited Jason in La Crosse, Wisconsin and made a movie of the trip.

The Cubs ended up winning the World Series. I had nothing to do with it, but I did visit them (twice).

Jason and I went for a bike ride on the trails at the top of the bluffs.

In November I accepted the job at Marine Credit Union in La Crosse, Wisconsin and moved into a hotel.

I came home for a bit and ate some tacos with Hans.

It was hard to say goodbye to my family after the weekend.

Samuel learned how to ride a bike and we went for a ride to the park.

In December I had a baby. We named her after Helen.

And my parents flew to Hawaii.

I bought the kids a PS4.

My brothers came up for Christmas.

I took Amalia to the park.

Here’s to 2016.

Things I Want You to Know About Life

My mom wrote this recently when the power was off. She had, “no WiFi, & time to reflect.”
Power is off and sensors are beeping. So here goes:

Things I want you to know about Life

It can change in an instant.
Don’t wait to do the things you love.
Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.
Do something new.
Think about others needs & feelings. Express your gratitude.
See the beauty all around you.
Listen more Get off your phone.
Look up.
Write personal notes, not texts. Handwritten notes  express your heartfelt appreciation
Be trustworthy always.
Build your character & integrity.
Keep a journal to record the highlights you will forget.
Good times can be very simple. Enjoy them as they come.
Watch the sunset.
Smell the rain.
Read a child a book.
Take them for a nature walk.
And the power is back. Hallelujah.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. Hours fly, flowers die, new days, new ways, pass by. Love stays. —a sundial
Enjoy life!

2015 Year in Review

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” Ecclesiastes 5-18-20

Erich Loves Donuts

In January I helped Jason renovate his great room. I occasionally do carpentry on the side and Jason needed trim installed. During that time I discovered Jack’s Donuts. I was beginning to build out my ‘breakfast brand’ persona online.

Erich at the Bean in Chicago

I also got a chance to go to Chicago for a HVAC tradeshow. GoServicePro had a booth there and I helped tell people about the system in hopes of getting some demos scheduled back at the office. It worked.

In February, my wife and I went to Nashville for the iTHRIVE conference, which is a Young Living Essential Oils business conference. I watched the baby during the day and we hung out together at night.

Erich Stauffer Advance 3

In March, my wife and I went to Kansas City to attend an essential oils conference for men. While out there we had the opportunity to have dinner with my aunt, Peggy. It was good to catch up with her and see her again.

Erich Stauffer on Periscope

In late March, Twitter released Periscope and I had some fun making live videos with it. Making more videos was one of my resolutions for the year. I wanted to ‘do the things I asked my clients to do’ and one of those was make videos.

Samuel and Daddy

In April I started a new company with Matt Geddie and Rahul Sahni. It’s an import/export company that connects buyers and sellers around the world. I had to learn about Alibaba and international trade. We ate a lot of food together.

Erich, Matt, and Rahul of RMI

I also started creating more videos of myself in order to document more of my day-to-day life. I started posting them on Facebook and YouTube. I got a lot of weird questions and comments, but I was trying to practice what I preach.

I called the videos “1-minute updates” and started creating a new video every weekday. I would record them on my way to work while driving in the car. I told people it was “practice” for making videos.

Erich at Skinny

In May, I started working nights and weekends at Skinny and Company more. My daughter, Amalia, had a birthday. She turned 2. On Mother’s Day we all went up to the Indiana Dunes State Park. It was a cold, fun day. We have lots of neat pictures.

Indiana Dunes Trip 2015

Jason and I held a Minecraft Conference for the kids. They got to play Minecraft together and teach other about what they had been learning. Jason and I also went to a concert in Fountain Square. While I was waiting on Jason to show up I made a video.

kids-fishing

The boys wanted to go fishing so I bought some fishing rods from Wal-Mart and we headed down to my parents house. This was their first time fishing, but the only thing they caught was a frog. It made me realize I still don’t like to fish.

In June, coworkers at GoServicePro (Hans and Chris) and I started doing weekly ‘food challenges’ where we would go get a similar food and do ‘blind taste tests’. We started with subs and moved on to various foods throughout the month like dark sodas, hot dogs, and gourmet hamburgers. This was all practice shooting and editing video using iMovie on my iPhone.

Exploring Boys

Kevin and Carmina finished up Soccer. I had fun watching them play and going on walks with the other kids along the river behind the soccer fields. I even got to play one game against Kevin. Afterwards, I took the boys to get ice cream.

ice-cream-kids

My wife wanted me to help her landscape the yard so we started trimming back old bushes and tearing down vines that had grown up against the house. Eventually we took down the back deck, too. It was hard work, but it looked better when done.

landscaping-stauffers

I attended another “Dude’s Game Night” at Jason’s house with some guys that are friends with Jason who have become friends of mine including Cullen, Chris, and James. Sometimes Hans comes too. Jason’s wife makes lots of good food. It’s a good time.

me-and-my-mom

Carmina and I both have birthdays in June. My mom came up for Carmina’s birthday party. Jason took me out for waffles on my birthday and then we went on a “Tour of the North” another day. We went to Marion, Huntington, and Upland.

erich-tree-marion

At the end of the month, we went up to the Indiana Fiddlers Festival with my parents. The kids enjoyed listening to the music and walking the trails. At work, Michael, a new guy started. Michael had a beard too and he appreciated my beard.

Erich Stauffer, Full-Stack Marketer

In July I celebrated my brother’s birthday with a trip to Steak n Shake with his daughters. During this month my wife, Suzanne started doing Periscopes for her business. Jason and I went to a Foxing and Mewithoutyou concert in Indianapolis.

And then we found out my mom had cancer.

sue-steve-stauffer

My brother, Scott, and I celebrated my mom’s birthday at Red Lobster. My wife, Suzanne, attended a Young Living convention in Texas for a few days, leaving me alone at home. Here’s what we talked about before she left:

My daughter, Magdalena, made me salsa. It was good. When Suzanne got back, she started making bars of soap and shampoo for Skinny and Company. August is our wedding anniversary. My brothers, Mitch and Scott, got together at BW3s to discuss family matters.

mitch-and-scott

Later on that month my mom had us all down to her house to take group, family photos. Back in Tipton I took my two sons to their first high school football game. The baby, Amalia, has started to grow up and is going on more walks with us.

erich-iu

In September, Jason and I took a road trip down to Bloomington and walked around the IU campus. I had a dream about a ‘red caboose’ restaurant in Tipton and then Noblesville’s train museum gave out caboose rides at the Pork Festival.

I went down to visit my parents in Franklin and my dad gave me a guitar. My wife went on another business trip, but this time to Utah. I started helping out nights at Bonzi Sports again by helping him setup Opencart. Jason and I kayaked the White River.

In October I went and saw The Martian and my mom started chemotherapy. iOS 9 came out and McDonald’s started serving breakfast all day. I took a week off from GoServicePro to meet with clients during the day and take a family vacation to see my Aunt Janice and Uncle Dan in Texas.

We first drove to Chicago where we went to Millennium Park and Lou Malnati’s. The next day we flew to San Antonio where we saw The Alamo and walked the River Walk. We then drove to see my Grandpa Stauffer and then finally to see my aunt and uncle.

It was the first time I’d flown since June of 2000 when I went to Texas for a wedding. Dan and Janice’s daughter, Amy (my cousin), was getting married. It was good to spend some time with the two youngest children and Suzanne – and to see Grandpa, Dan, and Janice.

erich-samuel-chicago

One of my goals on the vacation was to make a decision whether to start a new company (if so, what type) or continue on the path I was on already. I thought about it all week and on the plane ride back to Chicago I finally had an answer.

erich-jason-breakfast-club-me

I started Breakfast Club Me as a creative outlet and to practice building a consumer brand and online marketing using social media, email, and video. It would build on the ‘breakfast guy’ brand I had already built up naturally over the years.

My first product would be a t-shirts that said things like, “Biscuits”, “Waffles”, and “Sandwiches”. I didn’t know much more than that when I started. But to get started I found some similar shirts online and started creating content right away. Within 30 days I had my first product.

fiber-optics

In December we got fiber optic Internet installed at our house and we really started ramping up soap production for Skinny and Company. My wife makes their shampoo bars and I make the wood molds and do the stamping. This is the part of the post where I tell you what I learned.

samuel-and-me-2015

Kids grow up. They only ask you for “big jumps” or for you to take them to the park for a short time. After a while, they stop greeting you when you get home and sleep in when you leave in the morning. When a child asks for a hug. You stop whatever you’re doing and give it to them.