Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Wow, another year gone by in a blur and just a moment of closure. Every christmas I ask the kids to sit for family photos. Each year I get a bit better at taking them. This year's crop of photos is here.

Liam just turned 11 and just got his first video game console (XBOX 360 with Kinect). We've all been doing the Dance Central game. Personally I hate the music. It's mostly got that rap sound to it. It has got us all up, dancing, learning moves and exersizing though!

We've had a very quiet, stay at home holiday. The kids all came over for Christmas eve dinner. Since Kate is one of the other photographers in the family I had her take the photo of Liam, Marlaina and Me.

We've had another great year and we're looking forward to some changes in the coming year. Marlaina is starting to work more in a salon in Bellevue. I am starting a new position in a different group at Microsoft. Liam is having a great year is school so far.

I hope this post finds you all in good spirits and good health.

Happy holidays from Daniel, Marlaina and Liam

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Eagle Photo Trip

Dad and Liam went on a trip this past Saturday up to the Nooksack River near the Canadian border to photograph bald eagles. I had organized a group from the Microsoft Photography Club to meet at a local restraurant in Deming and then go out to the river to photograph.

Here is the group that we were out with at Il Caffe Rifugio prior to starting the day.

Photo by Karan Bagga

If you look closely you will see me and Liam standing at the very back of the room.

It was an incredibly fun day. Lot's of great people in this group. The weather was very kind to us all. I haven't gotten around to even downloading my pictures from my camera. I did get Liam's downloaded though and posted some to his photo site. Link to Liam's eagle pictures from this weekend. He always appreciates comments on his photography, so if you take a look, please leave a note for him.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dad, can I please borrow the car?

OK, here we are in Sneedville, Tennessee spending time with grandma and grandpa. One bummer about this post is that I bet grandma and grandpa would like to view it. Well I guess they'll have to wait until they're at the local library since the 28.8 modem dial up connection they have at home would take about a month to download this little video. No YouTube or Netflix for grandma and grandpa.

I flew into Nashville, rented a car (a new Dodge Charger) and drove five hours to the other end of the state. Now we're out in the country. Pasture and farm land. What a perfect opportunity to put Liam behind the wheel.

OK, that was fun! One more life experience impinted on the mind of the child! Stay tuned, next we go for firearms training.

Marlaina and her Mom, Ellen

Right now it's December 7th, 2010. Marlaina's mother, Ellen, passed away just over three months ago, on August 27th. The last few years have been difficult for Ellen. Due to ongoing health issues she has been in assisted living in Issaquah. For those of you who aren't nearby, that is about 15 miles from where we live in Kirkland.

With Marlaina's dad having passed away some years ago, Marlaina's mom and brother Rick have been her entire family for many years. As sometimes happens with siblings, Rick and Marlaina have not really seen eye to eye the entire time I've known them. I guess I would describe their relationship as "strained". Fortunately for Ellen, her kids and all of her grandkids live nearby so she was never short of weekend visitors. We all often went to see her there.

While I'm sure that Ellen had a great relationship with her other grandkids, the one I got to witness and especially appreciated was her love for Liam. She always lit up when he came around. She never failed to ask after him or remember him on special days.

Since Ellen has remained close to the family, her loss is felt deeply. I am writing this now because I feel for Marlaina and her grief. Over the last several months she has had her good days and bad days. It is especially hard for her right now because one thing she shared with her mom is her love of Christmas. Here is an old photo of Marlaina and her brother Rick with Mom at Christmas back when they were both still teens at home.
From left: Rick, Ellen and Marlaina

A couple of days ago Marlaina and Rick were at Ellen's house going through things. One thing Marlaina came home with was lots of Christmas decorations. I have no idea where it will all go because Marlaina has always seen to it that we have lots of Christmas decorations. Something she and her mom always shared and always looked forward to was the Christmas season.

I didn't know Ellen as a young woman and mother. I came to know her as the Mother-in-law and all that came with it. This woman with strong opinions, who could be set in her ways, who could upset Marlaina with just a look or a word. I didn't have a lifetime of appreciation and love that Marlaina had. I found it easy to dismiss what I took as Ellen's eccentricities or indulgences.

This has not been the case for Marlaina. This is the first Christmas season for us without Ellen. I am keenly aware of the impact on Marlaina. Christmas has always been the time of year when she is completely in her zone, on her game and living large. She is the driving force in the family around getting the tree up and getting the house decorated. She is all about all of the special dinners we have with close friends during the holiday season.

This year it's different. Marlaina is not festive. She's not especially interested in all of the activities of Christmas. She will open a bag or look at a decoration and burst into tears. I know that Christmas is a special time for family memories. I haven't really had to think about it being a time when we remember our losses as well. I know sadness will pass in time, but for now we're in that time.

The 1964 Thunderbird - Liam's first car

Where do I even begin on this one? Liam has been a car nut forever. He is especially crazy about classic American steel, chrome and muscle. For the six years that we have lived in this house we have been walking by and driving by this 1964 Ford Thunderbird hardtop a couple of blocks from our house. This car has just been rotting away. We talk about how great it would be to buy it and restore it. Eventually I suggest that Liam needs to go knock on the door and find out about the car and the owner. The guy is willing to sell it but we don't have the money just yet, so we save for a few months and come back and buy the car!

Liam closing the deal with our neighbor Brandon
So now we have the car at home. We plan to spend the next five years restoring it and then it will be Liam's first car. What a kick. Once he's old enough to drive it, it will already be over 50 years old. Grand plans. I can't wait to post updates.

There is nothing quite like a boy's first love. Here is Liam in our driveway the day after the Thunderbird made it home.

Liam's 11th Birthday

Since Liam's birthday comes so close to Christmas, we sometimes try to celebrate a bit early to create some separation. This year we planned a surprise party that included three of Liam's friends from school. The Pacific Science Center was hosting the Harry Potter Exhibit and also showing the Deathly Hallows Part 1, both of which Liam wanted to see. So on Saturday morning Emily took Liam to his drum lesson and while he was out of the house we decorated, the boys arrived and we were all set for his big surprise when he got back to the house. He was definitely surprised! It was a great day out with Liam and his friends, although I will admit that spending the day with four 11 year old boys can be pretty exhausting.

From Left: Tom, Liam, Mathias, Alex at Liam's 11th Birthday Party
It was a very traditional celebration with pizza, cake and icecream (all gluten free of course).

Welcome to the Moore family blog!

I have been trying to figure out how to keep friends and family up to date on all that is going on with us and finally decided that the answer was to start a family blog. With any luck it will be a good solution. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Daniel, Marlaina, Liam and Summer at Deception Pass