Our 2009 Opt-in Christmas Letter

We hope this year has found you in a good place. It's certainly found us in one. We started the year with the slightly early arrival of Madeline, our second daughter. Her arrival has been a blessing for our family. Each of us has a different relationship with her, but we've been so pleased by the relationship between her and Ella. Ella has blossomed into the role of big sister and has shown herself to be a thoughtful and caring person. We'll see how that holds as Madeline becomes mobile and starts taking things. So far, sharing has only been theoretical.

Ella started pre-school this year and as far as we can tell, loves it. It's been difficult to extract details of her day from her, though the teachers (and her grandparents) do a wonderful job of keeping us updated. Madeline's birth pushed Ella and I closer together out of necessity and I love the person she is.

For her third birthday, Ella got a kitten. Millie, as she's been named, is the spitting image of Michelle's late cat Tigger. Mille spends a lot of time evading Ella, but has proven a welcome companion for Barley during the boring days.

Michelle took about 2 months off for maternity leave, then returned to work in April and soon learned that her firm was going to be moving. She took a semi-hiatus from law to manage the move, which finally came to completion in October. The payoff for the extra work followed in a 10-day trip to Hawaii that we took as our first major family trip.

The trip, which we'd been planning since January, had some last minute changes in personnel, so to speak, but was still a wonderful break from the pending Oregon winter. We stayed in Kailua on the big island of Hawaii and were joined by my parents for over a week of 80 degree weather, sun, and wonderful beaches. The "Warm Ocean" that we'd been promising Ella since her mild catastrophe on a frigid Oregon beach in April was all it was cracked up to be. Both girls loved the water and we spent lots of time lounging on the beaches of Kona.

I'm pretty much in the same place as last year it seems. I'm enjoying work, though plenty ready to be done with my graduate work. My thesis seems like it'll never be complete, and my advisor seems about as excited about the topic as I am about taking time away from family and life to work on it. I have however, found great satisfaction in replacing the water main, replacing the upstairs windows, and other miscellaneous projects around the house.

To you and yours we wish a Merry Christmas, pleasant holidays and Happy New Year. Best wishes in the year to come.

The Freeds

Freeds in 2009