Ella's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Ella was challenged to take the ALS ice bucket challenge yesterday.  She took a bucket full of super cold ice water this afternoon and has challenged her friend Elise.

I was also challenged yesterday but have decided to forego the ice bath and instead will be donating money to several charities.  It's not that ALS is not a worthy cause or people should not worry about it.  We have known so many people that have had to fight or learn to live with terrible, debilitating diseases.  We would rather donate to several causes and try to help people we personally know that are learning to cope in an unfair world.

ALSA - I will help support raising more money for this cause that has received tremendous awareness through their ice bucket challenge.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society - To honor Jamie Reynold's mother who has been fighting MS for many, many year.

To honor Ashton Whalen, the daughter of our good friends in Florida, the Whalens.  Ashton has been battling Leukemia for several years now, we will donate to the charity of Ashton's choosing.

The newest member of our family, Olaf

We have added another member to our Canadian family.  We couldn't resist a new puppy whom we named Olaf.  He is a white Miniature Schnauzer, that we got here in Quebec.  There is some controversy over the white versions of this breed.  The American and Canadian branches will not recognize it as an official version of the breed, though after genetic testing most other countries do now recognize it as an official color.

We were torn between naming him Olaf after the snowman in Frozen, or Blitz which was sort for Blizzard.  Ultimately, Sarah and the kids won and his name stuck as Olaf.  He's pretty much the greatest puppy ever.

Night Photography

On my last couple of business trips to San Francisco and Edmonton I was able to get out at night and take some photos of the city, the Golden Gate bridge, and the Milky Way Galaxy on a nice clear night.  Hope to get out and take some photos of Montreal here shortly to add to the collection.

The Golden Gate looking into San Francisco
The view of San Francisco from Twin Peaks
Just a random path near my hotel in San Francisco.  The long exposure brought out a pretty cool look.
The Milky Way in the middle of nowhere in Alberta, Canada

First time snowboarding!

We are beaten, bruised, tired, and I am pretty sure that I broke a rib.  But we can't wait to go again.

That was just 2 hours on the bunny hill, we still are pretty bad, definitely do not have the skills for the big hills yet.

I know this is a recurring theme for us, we go surfing once, want to go every weekend.  I wish we could go surfing every weekend.  Ella still has her surfboard and is hoping for some summer weekends to make a drive out to the coast in Maine for some surfing fun.

I also remember swearing off athletic pursuits after breaking my shoulder, just too old to be doing this stuff anymore.  To recap, I broke my toe and a rib (the same rib that I am pretty sure I broke again today) surfing.  Then a little footrace in New Orleans cost me a bit of bone in my shoulder on the operating table.  Enough was enough.

However, the beauty of the Olympics is their ability to inspire people.  Just like Ella was inspired to teach herself how to swim (successfully) after watching Michael Phelps in Athens, Max wanted to get into snowboarding after watching the competition in Sochi.  Max showing any interest in athletics was enough for me to make it happen.  Even if that meant I needed to participate to do it with him.  In fact, the whole family got in on the action to give it a try.  The kids had never been on skis or a snowboard in their lives.  Sarah skied once I think, and I have skied a few times.  Nothing to inspire confidence in our ability to do this, but if our family has a motto, it is to always try, so we were going to give it a try.

World Tour

Another old post, just never got around to posting this until now.  Almost a year ago now, I was able to travel all over the place to promote the launch of the last game that I finished, Gears of War: Judgment.  I had a lot of fun going to see cool places and meet with the press and fans to talk about the game.

It all started in February with a trip to the Super Bowl!  If you know how much I love football, then you know how much I enjoyed this one.  We were showing the game at an event during the Super Bowl, and some friends at Microsoft were able to secure tickets to the game which was really awesome.  The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers despite a stadium blackout due to a faulty power transformer or something.  I even came home with a broken shoulder that required some surgery.

Ella's 9th Birthday

Ella had a lovely 9th birthday this last year (really late in posting this), she was able to go to Chicago with Sarah and Grandma Linda.  She took her American Girl doll, Kaya, with her and they stayed at the Talbot with a special American Girl package.  Her doll had her own bed, she was able to order room service for both of them, and everything in the room was customized to them.  They spent a lot of time checking out the Chicago sites and shopping in the American Girl doll store.

Travel by train as a new experience.  Pontiac to Chicago