My son was baptized today. After the sacrament, we headed to a nearby park and celebrated. My friend Athena was there with her camera and took some great photos.
Baptism baby portrait

Fourth of July 2013 – Photos of Fireworks

We stayed home this year and watched our local city fireworks. Below are some photos. We had a great time and hope you did too.Fireworks [Read more…]

Maternity Photos Take Two

Lost Lake Maternity PhotosOur new baby gave us an opportunity to take a new round of maternity photos, this time in the great outdoors. We headed up toward Lost Lake, stopping at a cherry orchard along the way. My wife had a few ideas for  poses that she found on Pinterest that  made use of the older sibling in the photo shoot. While Siena did cooperate for most of the photos, we had to bribe her with candy at least once. After the cherry orchard, we made our way up to Lost Lake, past the “road closed” sign and encountered a “resident” about 100 feet from the parking area by the lake. We were politely asked to “leave the premises” due to the imminent dangers posed by the ongoing snowplowing efforts. I scratched my head looking for imposing snow drifts and hazardous black ice, only to find bare roads and parked plows. Still, we complied with the request and returned a few days later. Our return trip offered us a chance to stop at the orchard again, with a different outfit . Our trip to the Lost Lake was successful this time as we parked and made our way to the shore. It was a gorgeous day and the calm wind almost made for a perfect refection of Mount Hood in the lake.

Rest in Peace Mater

This photo was taken in 2001. We are standing in the koi pond and Japanese Garden that we worked together to landscape.

We are standing in Japanese Garden that we landscaped together. This photo was taken in 2001.

I recently returned from a quick trip to Fort Morgan, Colorado for the funeral Mass and burial of my grandmother. She was 94 years old when she passed away. Gabriel and Siena joined my wife and I for the trip. Gabriel was a fantastic little traveler, making the trip at 5 weeks old, the same age Siena was when we attended my uncle’s burial here in 2008.

Though my grandmother lived in Fort Morgan for many years, she moved to California in the early 1990s, so I had the benefit of growing up with her nearby. One of my fondest memories was our joint effort planning and planting the Japanese garden and koi pond at my parents’ house. I had previously built the pond and waterfalls with my father but I greatly benefited from her gardening experience and critical eye when landscaping the garden.

The burial provided an opportunity [Read more…]

Gabriel Has Arrived!

Gabriel BirthGabriel Connor was born Saturday April 27th at 1:35 PM. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 20″ long. He came 3 weeks before my daughter and two weeks before his due date, so its obvious he was quite impatient and wanted out!

Theresa started labor at 11PM Friday night. Surprisingly, less than a half hour after labor began, her contractions were happening periodically at 5 minutes, lasting 45 second each. This is the frequency/duration criteria for heading to the hospital. Her labor lasted a total of 14 hours which was roughly half the time of Siena, though the labor was more intense.

Since our last visit, the hospital has been remodeled with a new family birthing center. The new rooms are spacious with a built-in Jacuzzi tub for labor. The postpartum rooms are also roomier and have an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Adams. We’ll be bringing our son home tomorrow since he’s healthy and Mamma is recovering beautifully.

Florida and The Everglades from 35,000 Feet

Lakes and Palm TreesI recently returned from a week-long business trip to Florida where I spent my days learning a real-time kernel for use in embedded systems. I’ve been to Florida once before and I thought it was a festering cesspit then. Not surprisingly, my opinion hasn’t changed. The geography, climate, population, aggressive drivers and prevailing attitude of the locals basically amounts to a resounding “epic fail.” Fortunately, the company that hosted me was top notch, staffed with polite and very intelligent people. By the end of the week I felt fully versed in this new software component. Because of this, and because I wasn’t consumed by a killer sinkhole, I can safely say the trip was successful.

Due to my training schedule and jet lag-induced fatigue, I didn’t get a chance to visit the Everglades. Fortunately, I had a window seat for the flight home so I was able to survey and shoot the massive swamp from the airplane. Once I was done taking photos, I was able to sit back, relax, and take advantage of in-flight WiFi to browse the NTSB’s aviation accident database, starting with ValuJet Flight 592.

We’re Expecting a Son

4D ultrasound


My wife will be starting her third trimester in a few weeks, carrying our second child. This one is a boy and we plan to name him Gabriel Connor! We learned his gender at her last ultrasound, around 22 weeks gestation. She had a follow-up ultrasound about a week later and the technician was able to capture a 4D image this time. Apparently the baby has to cooperate for the image to be usable.

I also learned that today marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. This revelation was chilling as I find the entire concept of abortion distasteful. In fact, 784,507 abortions were reported in 2009 according to the CDC’s latest statistics. I see my son’s face in this picture and I know that he is alive, a human being entitled to the same civil rights as as any other person. He can think, feel, and even hear my voice. In this nation, it would also be perfectly legal to abort him. There are four abortion procedures that may be used to terminate his life, and each one of these would cause him tremendous pain.

Roe v. Wade was decided before the advent of high-resolution, 4D ultrasound technology. I can only wonder if the decision would have been different had the justices seen the faces of the unborn children whose very right to exist was being questioned.

Anniversary Walk at the Columbia Gorge Hotel

We walked the grounds of the Columbia Gorge Hotel prior to going out to dinner for our 5th wedding anniversary. I shot this with my iPhone. I certainly don’t need an SLR to capture my wife’s stunning beauty.


Electrical Storm in the Gorge

I wasn’t watching the weather report, so I was caught by surprise this evening when an electrical storm blew through the gorge. Strangely, it was moving from east to west, which is uncommon with the almost constant west wind. Siena was incredibly excited by the frequent bolts of lightning and kept asking if she could watch the storm instead of going to bed. I let her stay up and watch me attempt to photograph the lightning strikes.

Siena’s comments during the “lights and funder storm”:

This is so exciting!
That. Was. Awesome!!
Was that the camera or the lighting?
Ooh that was a great one!
(and, to her Daddy, with camera on tripod) Didja get that hon?

A Fun Fam’ly Day

“This is such a fun fam’ly day!” Siena

Free FunFree FunWe started our day with a Fishing Derby and visiting friends in Trout Lake, then came home to recharge before walking to a community event. It was advertised as a Family Carnival Style Pig Roast, but when Siena saw the flier she was appalled by my answer to her question about why the clip art pig was “upside down”. She says we shouldn’t cook pigs, that it’s not very nice. Hawk wondered if this means we have a little “vegan animal fanatic” on our hands, but I figure every child has a moment where they first learn what meat actually is, and it’s probably a universal reaction. I still remember thinking I was making a great joke at the family dinner table, giggling as I chose my chicken leg, saying “What if it really was a leg from a chicken?!?” and for a quick second I thought my parents were joking right back when they said that’s what it was. [Read more…]