Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
We went for a walk after dinner (around the loop), Matt and Grace took turns riding in, then pulling the wagon. At one point Graice was pulling the wagon down a hill, Matt was walking well ahead of her -- when all of the sudden Grace lost control of the wagon and had to let it go by itself down the hill. Wouldn't you know, as it gained speed, it formed a perfect line to Matt, and would have ploughed him over had it not been for a bump on the pavement that knocked the wagon just enough off course to only brush up against Matt's right side. Erin and I were anticipating a major catastrophe -- fortunately most of the crying was about the possibility of the wagon going down the hillside of the ravine.
Grace has been having a difficult time riding the bus lately. She's pretty good about going to school, but she gets teary coming home. She loves school, but the bus ride is intimidating. So many loud, older kids.
We went to a 1 hour presentation given by Gracie's kindergarten teachers (Mrs. Janzen and Ms. Jocelyn) last night. They're amazing. I am so glad that Gracie's first experience with school is with these two instructors. We're really fortunate to live in a place when our children can be educated by some of the finest teachers. Gracie's also got lots of friends at school. Makenna Kwasney, Julie Gedlaman, Kayla Lee, Sydney Taylor, Nathan Kearl, Rian McMullen (I'm sure there are others).
Monday, September 26, 2005
Gracie didn't go to school today. She's been sick a bit also -- just sick enough that she couldn't overcome her anxious feelings about riding the bus. When I got home from work, I took Grace and Matt off Erin's hands and went for a walk. Gracie and I talked about going to school and riding the bus, and she told me that she would go to school tomorrow. She's really growing up.
While we were out walking, we passed by the Harker's house. They happend to be out picking vegetables out of thier garden, so we stoped for a chat. Shelly was kind enough to send us on our way with a bag of carrots. When we got home, Erin cleaned off the carrots, and Matt and Gracie dipped them in ranch dressing. They really enjoyed it.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I had lunch with the Saunders boys today (Tom, Dave & Chuck). We met at the usual spot -- Chili's. It's nice to catch up with those guys. I miss being around Tom, now that we don't work together any longer.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The E-commerce standard: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3106.txt
MSN Documentation: http://search.msn.com/docs/toolbar.aspx?t=MSNTbar_CONC_FormFillForWebmasters.htm
Friday, September 09, 2005
Ben is completing his graduate school to become an architect, and he's currently in a work term that takes him all over North America.
Ben showed up at about 5:30, ate dinner, played in the park with the kids, and spent about an hour and a half catching up. He then got in his rented truck, and drove up to Edmonton . What a fun night.
After Ben left, Gracie and I got in the car and delivered flyers for the food bank. The six Calgary stakes are sponsoring a city-wide food drive for the Inter-Faith food bank. Gracie rode her bike from house to house while I delivered the flyers. After about 30 minutes, she got smart to the idea that she could also deliver the flyers. So, she would walk up to the door of every-other house and hang the donation bag/flyer on the handle of the front door. She'd jump back on her bike and catch up with me. It was so much fun.
I admit I was a little bit axious about putting Grace on the bus alone, and sending her on a 25 minute bus ride to Marion Carson Elementary (in Varsity) -- but Gracie was excited, and did just fine. She cried a bit when waiting to get on the bust at school to come home. Fortunately Lara was there to pick up Sommer, and was able to calm her a little bit. Erin asked Grace about it later in the evening, and Grace said she was a little bit intimidated by all the noise and older kids. It's now September 9th, and she's been on the bus and back three times, and hasn't cried since. She's having a really fun time at school.
After putting Grace on the bus, Erin went down to meet her at the school and reassure Gracie that school was going to be great. I think it was Erin who was looking for the reassurance. Erin watched as Gracie went into her class and looked for her name tag. All the kids got thier name tags, but Gracie was still a bit confused. Grace knows how to spell her name, "G-R-A-C-E", and the only nametag left to pick up (after all the kids had taken thier nametags) had the name "G-R-A-C-I-E". Erin was looking in from the window and could see that Grace was getting a little upset and confused. It looked like her name, but clearly wasn't. Erin went in and explained that it was her nametag, and quickly taught her that Graice and Grace have two different spellings, and that they could make a new nametage if she didn't like the Gracie nametag.
The theme for the Gracie's school year is "Water water everywher, and not a drop to spare". I think it's a great idea to have a theme -- I also think that particular theme is very timely.
I can't believe Gracie is old enough to be away at school for the afternoon. She's really enjoying it.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
We decided to stay in Hill Spring, on the farm with Grandma and Grandpa Gibb. The kids love the farm - and we don't get there as often as we should. When we arrived it was too dark to explore the farm, so we stayed inside with Grandma and Grandpa Gibb. We put the kids to bed in the west bedroom... I slept with Gracie, Matt slept in the crib, and Erin slept in the South bedroom (while she read Harry Potter).
The farm is filled with noises we aren't accustomed to in the city. We awoke at about 6:00 AM to the sound of uncle Larry's combine having it's blades sharpened. The sound was slightly more quite that the engine of a 747 jumbo jet -- but not much. Interestingly enough, we could also hear the sound of birds chirping -- I never would have believed how loud chirping birds can be at 6:00 AM when they're right outside your window.
Needless to say, we were up had breakfast and outside exploring at about 6:45 AM. Mom was kind enough to delay her trip into Cardston to help us entertain the kids while Erin got ready for the day. Mom, Grandma Gibb, Matt, Gracie and I went to see the loud noise coming from the big farm imlement, then to see the cows. The kids love the cows. Along the way Matt came across the feeding tractor (used to feed the cows), and mom loaded him into it. He had so much fun. By the time we were done exploring the farm Erin was ready, and we packed up and went into Cardston for the parade.
Dad entered his Model-T, and drove Grandma in the parade for her 90th birthday. As usual, his car won first prize. I'm not sure if the Model-T has won before, but one of Grandpa Wolff's cars wins every year for as long as I can remember.
The kids loved the parade -- the weather was great. Dad parked his Ford truck along the parade route (very close to the top of the hill), and Kevin and I sat in the bed of the truck with Mason, Matt. The truck proved to be an excellent corral for the kids. Gracie sat with mom on the stree and collected candy throw by the people on the parade floats. I think this is the first parade that Gracie has been old enough to really enjoy. She was completely enraptured. When dad and Grandma rounded the corner to come down the hill, I jumed up with dad's camera and snapped some photos.
After the parade, we went to the Loin's park for a family lunch. All of dad's side of the family was there, along with Ken and Judy Hawthorne, Jen and Bruce (and the kids), and some of the Hendry's. We each brough our own meal, and we visited and played with the kids at the park. It was so hot.
After the park, we went back to Grandma Wolff's house and had a small surprise reception. Many of Grandma Wolff friends and family came, and dad made Tin Lizzie Lemon ice cream with the Model-T, by removing the rear driver side wheel and hooking the old-fashioned ice cream maker up to the axel. Everyone was very impressed -- and the ice cream was fabulous.
Grandma Wolff had a very nice time.
One other thing of note: I went to Halifax Nova Scotia this week -- my first time to Nova Scotia, (in fact my first time that far East ... anywhere). My company is opening an office in Halifax (Dartmouth actually), and I went out to oversee the computer network, phone system and Internet connectivity. The jet lag made the first day tough, but other than that it was very enjoyable. Halifax is a really nice city -- I think I'd like to take the family there for a vacation sometime.
I ate more seafood these past few days than I've eaten in my whole life. Since Wednesay, I've eaten halibut, muscles (of three kinds), calamari, lobster, salmon and scallops. I don't really like seafood -- so I think I'll take a break for a while.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Keith Wood conducted a stake choir, which performed several pieces -- most noteably, "The Spirit of God" which is perhaps my favorite hymn. It is such a powerfull hymn -- I sometimes so overcome by it that I am not able to sing. The choir was outstanding; the music was terrific, the talks were excellent, and the dedicatory prayer was inspirational. It really was a historic event.
It's very impressive to observe how eloquent President Melchin was during the dedicatory prayer -- he's normally a very good speaker, but this was different. I know that he spent considerable time pondering what could be said during the dedicatory prayer, but the prayer is not in any way prepared beforehand, in fact -- he doesn't use, or even make any written notes of any kind. I'm sure he spent substantial effort contemplating whether he could pronouce that a temple would one day be dedicated on this site. He's been instrumental in ensuring that the church retain the excess land, and that the city have the land zoned for two buildings. On more than one occasion church administrators have tried to sell the excess land, as I'm told it's church policy not to bank excess land. The original plot of land was 20 acres, and was acquired almost 30 years ago for the purpose of retaining land for what is hoped to become a temple site. Of course over the years a temple has not been built, and a couple of years ago when substantial development of the area was underway, the church sold 10 acres of the land. Rick told us on Sunday evening, that at one point more of the land was to be sold (leaving only enough to support a single chaple), but he insisted that the land not be kept. The matter was taken to President Faust, who said something like, "you'd better listen to the Stake President", and ever since the land has been kept, and there has been no further discussion of selling the land.
During the dedicatory prayer President Melchin petitioned that because of the faithfullness of the local Saints, the land one day receive a temple. I've always thought that this will come to pass.
The building is substantially complete, with only a few minor items inside the building remain outstanding. None of the exterior landscaping is complete.
The air conditioning was not operational on the day of the dedication, but fortunatley the temperature outside was cool and rainy. We opened all the outside doors, and let the cool air circulate through the chapel.
Both Gracie and Matt weren't feeling well, and Erin debated keeping them home. I'm glad she didn't. She did however end up taking the kids home just before the dedicatory prayer was offered. Gracie was complaing of an upset stomach, and kept saying she was going to vomit. Last time she said that at church, she threw-up all over me. -- so Erin didn't make her sit through the last 30 minutes. Matt behaved quite well (wich isn't normally the case during a one hour sacrament meeting, let alone a two hour meeting).
It was a nice day. All of the Melchins were in town (except Cade and Keri) -- and we had dinner over at Erin's parente place afterward.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005
Matt did however speak incessantly about playing with dady's keys, in dady's car -- (or whose ever car he felt he had the best chance at). He constantly obsesses over the keys and cars of everyone he knows. I'm not kidding when I can identify every extended family member by either thier keys or car.
Gracie had lots of fun reuniting with her cousins today. She and Annie get along quite well. It's really good of Amy to make the long trip from Utah -- pregnant, with three kids, and without help (Brad will be joining us later in the week). Amy is a real trooper.
I'm already nervous about Gracie going to school. Of course I don't let her know that. I can't believe that in a few weeks, she'll be riding a bus from Tuscany to Varsity -- spending the afternoon at school, getting back on the bus and returning home, all without our supervision. I keep telling myself not to wimp out, that every other parent goes through the same ritual. Still... I'm nervous.
I had a nice conversation with Rick this evening about Objectivism. He's re-read An Objectivist Epistomology, by Ayn Rand -- and he's excited to say the least. I think I'm going to get a copy of the book and read it with him over the next several weeks.
I got a voicemail message from David Waite today saying that he won't be able to come to Calgary after all. He's got some urgent company business that needs his attention. Too bad -- we would have had lots of fun together. I'm sure we'll see him soon. David, if you're reading this -- we'll miss you!
Monday, July 04, 2005
The boys (Sean, Micheal, Rick and I) had an ejoyable gospel discussion this evening. I always learn something when we have these type of discussions.
After getting home and getting the kids to bed, I dove into some more ASP.NET 2.0 study. I get more impressed the more I learn. The new framework is really feature rich, as is the Visual Studio IDE. I'm really excited to get to build some real applications.
Last night Erin came down and told me that when she was putting Gracie to bed, Gracie was going in and out of sleep, when suddenly she sat up -- still half asleep, and said, "Birds don't chew -- they don't have teeth." Funny what must be going through her mind when she goes from wakefullness into sleep.
Friday, July 01, 2005
I’m writting this from Delbert Beazer’s house in Cardston. We came down for the Hill Spring July 1st celebration. We’re staying at Delbert’s house because the Hawthorne’s are staying at Grandma Wolff’s house, and the farm is way too crazy to consider staying there. Besides, Delbert has a beautiful home — maybe he’ll let us stay here in the future.
We arrived last night, in time to put the kids to bed; Matt resisted for at least an hour. We decided not to rush, so we missed the parade, and arrived just in time to see that the program had been interrupted by a 20 minute fire alarm episode. The BBQ beef was excellent as always; Matt Burnham won the Rootbeer contest — personally I thought Eric Gibb had it locked up.
Matt and Gracie ran in races — they both did well. Gracie is getting old enough to understand and be excited to run with all the kids. She did great. They both did great.
After going to Spring Glen Park, Dad, Matt and I got in the van and drove arond Police Lake for a couple of hours. I really enjoy that part of Southern Alberta. I’d love to own some property down there one day.
After Police Lake, we went back to the farm and Timothy and I took the four-wheelers down to the riverbottom. The mosquitos were crazy. The ride didn’t last that long — especially because my quad ran out of gas part way through the trip. We collected the kids and drove back to Cardston for some Pizza’s and Cream — Matt was uncontainable. What a relief to have them in bed.
Tomorrow we go to Waterton. Shoud be fun.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I woke up this morning and took the kids to the run in the Bishop’s Fun Run. I had planned on going alone (and actually running), but I decided to take the kids and let Erin have a break.
The run was quite fun — I put Matthew in the stroller; Gracie wanted to run on her own. When the race began, Gracie took off with Makenna Kwasney, and they both ran about 600 or 700 meters without stopping. In fact, Gracie got far enough ahead of me (about 60 or 70 meters) that I had to ask her to stop. At the end of the race, Gracie and Matt got ribbons. We all had so much fun. After the run, a pancake breakfast was served. The whole event took about three hours.
Erin and I went out this evening. We saw Batman Begins — quite a good movie.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
I took Grace and Matt to the park tonight, much like many nights before, but this time when we went home, she asked if I would take her back. I replied, as I do most times, that she could go back by herself if she wanted to. Normally, this offer is never accepted -- but not tonight. She said she would go back, and her only request was for a cookie before leaving.
I watched her play from the kitchen window, then I took Matt downstairs to play. The whole outing wasn't more than ten minutes -- which, to be honest was fine by me. Matthew also had a first this evening -- he said his own name with enough announciation, that I could understand clearly. I was very impressed.
I've been listening to/reading "Winning", by Jack Welch -- I'm totally consumed. I very well read, especially in business books... to be sure, but this book is clearly excellent. I'm only half done and I can honestly say I'll going to be a better business person because of it.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Gracie told me two jokes before she went to bed this evening. It was really cute -- she learned the jokes from a childrens website she was playing on today.
- Q: Where does chocolate milk come from? A: A Brown Cow!
- Q: What do you call a sleeping bull? A: A Bull Dozer!
She laughed, and was so proud of herself for properly delivering the punch line! She's so cute.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Fathers Day today. I had a nice day — we all gathered at our house for dinner and didn’t do much. Gracie gave me a mint Aero chocolate bar, and a Canada t-shirt as a gift. She was so excited.
Matt was ornery for a good part of the day yesterday. He’s been very pleasant for the past few weeks, so it was kind of odd to have him so cranky. He’s utterly obsessed with keys, cars, and car keys. The first thing he says to us in when he wakes up is a question-esque listing of keys of everyone he knows, “Mimi’s keys?”, “Leela’s keys?”, “Lara’s keys?”… and so on. To be sure, there is only a few minutes of his waking day where he isn’t holding someone's keys.
A funny Matt word: “CamaLOWp”, which means either “cantaloupe”, or “candle out” (he’s taken to blowing the candles out) depending on what he’s pointing to.
On Saturday I got to spend some time playing with Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 — awesome! There is so much to learn — I don’t know how you can learn it all.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I've worked on this for more than an hour this evening.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Update: this link seems to be the best summary:
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Erin called us in for dinner -- meatballs, of which Gracie ate none, and Matt ate six; that's more than Erin and I ate together. Matt did the same thing a couple of nights ago when we had pasta. He ate an adults heaping plate (more than Erin and I together).
A telephone solicitor called this evening. I've determined that the best response to an unwanted telephon solicitor is simply to ignore him, and tell him about your day, talk about current events, ask him about his family etc. I don't really recall what this fellow was pushing, but it only took me about one minute to have him hang up on me. I wasn't rude, or insincere -- I just started telling him about what's going on in my life. Brilliant!
Melinda is here now doing her laundry. She's been kind enough to bath the kids and let Erin and I clean up a bit.
For the past few nights, Erin and I have been watching Pride and Prejudice in the evening before going to bed. I confess, I quite like the story, and I'm totally into the language. I wish I could speak as elegantly as Jane Austin writes.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Saturday, June 11, 2005
It's ironic that it seems that what Erin and I want most is some time without the demands of children, yet when we get some time away -- we think about them for most of the time.
Toronto was hot -- 30 degrees Celcius, for the whole time we were there, and the humidity made it feel much worse. The heat was hard on Erin, but I loved it. It's been so cold and rainy in Calgary for the past 10 days; I enjoyed every minute of the Toronto heat.
We spent a good deal of our time (when I wasn't in meetings) walking around downtown, and shopping at Eaton's Center. We had fun riding the subway (from North York Center to Union Station and back). On Thursday we spent most of the day wandering.
I was excited to take Erin to the "Movenpick" restaraunt. The name has been changed to "Richtree", but other than the name change, it's still the same place. Erin had a steak and roasted veggies, I also had a steak with a baked potato. We shared a Napolean for desert. We didn't get to Honest Ed's restaraunt -- we just couldn't make it work. Next time I guess.
On Thursday morning we flaged a cab and drove to Thornhill. We went back to our old house on 51 Lilac Avenue. I took photos of the old neighbour hood, including our house, Micheal Goldberg's house, Craig Fullford's house etc... One day it would be really great to go back with Mom, Dad and Kevin.
Being away was nice -- this trip was the first time Erin and I have been away together without the kids. It was just the right amount of time.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
This is the route we walked today. We started at about 11:00 AM, and returned to hotel by about 5:30 (roughly six hours). We started at College and Young, and walked west to Spadina. We turned South on Spadina and walked through Chinatown. We turned East on Queen, and ate at a restaruant called Rivoli. We both had Pat Thai -- a Thai noodle dish.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The boys left, and we decided to press forward, mounting the UPS's and servers. We got everythigng that need to be up and running mounted into the racks, (and the rest put into storage) and we powered up the servers successfully at about 4:00 AM. We were satisfied with our testing and ready to go home by 4:30 AM. We were all back on the job by 9:30 AM on Friday morning (only 5 hours later), and we had the network functional and Columbia centres up and running by lunchtime. Overall the move was successfull. I'm really pleased with the skill and effort of my team. I work with committed, very smart, talented people. This was the single largest risk item I've ever worked on -- it was also quite possibly the most successfull.
Erin is feeling the effects of pregnancy more and more. She's doing quite well though. This morning she commented that about what the baby would look like. Gracie looks like me, and Matt looks like her... who will number three look like. Erin goes in for her first ultrasound on Tuesday morning.
Matt has really begun to speak in phrases -- and I'm noticing that he's becoming less and less frustrated (no surprise there -- we've always know that his frustration comes from not being able to express himself in a way that we can understand him). His phrases are really cute -- he's really cute. He's started to go to bed a little better. Erin bought a crib tent for him, so he's not getting out of bed anymore. At first the tent angered him, and we still had to lay in his room for 30 mintues to get him to fall asleep; but he's getting so that he's not so bothered by it now.
Gracie went to her kindergarten orientation this week (at Marion Carson elementary school). She had so much fun. It's really too bad she's got to be shipped all the way to Varsit. Erin and I are both a bit nervous about putting her on the bus -- she's becoming a little bit sensitive to being left alone lately.
I think it started when we went to Utah, and put her in primary with a class and teacher she didn't know. I dropped her off, and with a kiss, started to leave the room. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was feeling nervous. By the time I made eye contact with her, I could see plainly that she was very uneasy being left alone. I smiled and continued to walk to the door -- I could see that she way trying to be brave, but the more she could see me look at her, the more her eyes welled with tears and her lip trembled... until finally she bowed her head into hands and cried. It was so sad. I ended up sitting with her for all of singing time, then we went back to Brad and Amy's place instead of going to class. Ever since we've been back from Utah, Gracie has been very reluctant to go to class. She insists we check on her frequently during singing time, and from time to time I have to stay with her in order to keep her there.
This behaviour is very unlike her -- her nature is to be very free spirited and somewhat un-attached. She's hasn't had trouble with babysitters, or visiting in the homes of families she doesn't know. Erin and I have both been confused at this recent behaviour. When Erin took Gracieto her kindergarted orientation, she started to get a little nervous, but Erin quickly put her at ease by pointing out all the fun things to do. Erin said that despite some momentary hesitation, she did quite well.
Monday, May 16, 2005
That intagible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose
dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the workds; which the
ancient Ohites of the east reverenced in thier statue devio; --Ahab did not fall
down and worhip it like them; but delirioulsy transferring its idea to the
abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated against it. All that most
maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with
malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle
demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly
personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the
whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole
race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his
hot heart's shell upon it.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
I framed out the new server room, my new office/the IT area, and Dave's office. I find this kind of work very relaxing... it's nice to do manual labor, good for the mind.
Came home at 4:00 PM, and took Erin and the kids to Market Mall. Gracie was hoping to buy a mother's day gift for Erin (actually three gifts: a necklace, a ring, and a dress) -- but we couldn't find any jewelry that we thought she'd like, nor did we thing that we should buy her a dress, given that she's pregnant.
After a couple hours shopping (interrupted by a 20 minute stint in the play area), we abandoned our original gift ideas, and decided to get some new tablesettings. Erin couldn't decide what she wanted, so we left the mall empty handed. Honestly the best give I think I can give her, is just being out with her and the kids for an afternoon.
We went out with Sean and Libby Haslam last night. We had dinner at the Outback, then went to the new movie, "Kindom of Heaven". The dinner was great, the movie was decent. We always have fun going out with the Haslams.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Matt appearantly had to major breakdowns today. Erin tells me that at one point he was actually foaming at the mouth. Poor kid.
Matt has taught me a lot about parenting -- mostly that I should never be critical of a person's parenting skill (or appearant lack of it). I suspect most of what I previously would have judged as poor parenting, is more likely than not the result of a very frustrated parent who's doing thier best. Matt is so cute when he in a pleasant disposition, but he's very difficult to deal with at other times.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The conference was given in two parts, a Saturday priesthood leadership meeting, and the Sunday general session. The Saturday priesthood training went from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM (an hour longer than scheduled), but it felt no longer than about an hour and a half. All three gave very good instruction, but I was particularly inspired by Elder Bednar's comments (at both sessions).
Elder Jensen conducted both sessions, and spoke only very briefly (about 10 minutes) to open the priesthood session. Elder Bednar spoke next for about 45 minutes, then President Monson for about an hour. There was a 20 minute break, then they all spoke again.
Elder Bendar is the newest of the Twelve, and by far the youngest. He's got a very accessible speaking style, yet very doctrinal. He's an excellent teacher. He told us of the process of being ordained an Apostle, and taught about priesthood keys in a very clear, insightful manner. He taught about how priesthood keys should be used, and how they should be received. Several times he spoke about how "with God, nothing is impossible."
During the general session, he used a theme (developed by Elder Maxwell during a previous General Conference) about how the individual brush stokes of a masterpiece painting are unremarkable when viewed by themselves; but after the painting is completed, and the individual brush strokes are viewed collectively, the masterpiece is revealed. He taught the family scripture study, seminary attendance, family prayer can be likened unto the brushstrokes, and that for most of us, there likely will not be one prayer, or one seminary or Sunday School lesson (i.e.: one single brush stroke), that we can "point to" that made the masterpiece (so to speak) -- but that after the years go by, and all the brush strokes are viewed together, then the masterpiece is revealed. To illustrate he pointed out that his children may not remember a single morning's scripture study, but they remember that they had scripture study every morning.
At the close of his Priesthood talk, Elder Bednar gave his witness of the Saviour. I'm not sure why, but there was something different about hearing him bear testimony of the Savior in person, than hearing all the Prophets and Apostles bear testimony at general conference. I can't really explain why, but I was more real, more honest than others I've heard.
Overall it was an uplifting conference.
P.S. The production of the conference was quite remarkable. A large semi-trailer was driven up from Salt Lake, with all the camera, sound and satellite equipment required to perform the broadcast. Technically and logistically, it was amazing.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I was really surprised how well Matt did; I expected him to fall into the water on the first or second crossing. He actually made it to the fourth or fifth crossing before filling his boots with water and eventually falling right in. A couple of times he teetered, but managed to keep his balance. By the end Matt was completely soake, and I scooped him out of the water and rushed him home (ahead of Erin and Gracie) before he got too cold. We both decided that if Matt was going to have any chance at staying dry, he'd need new boots... we remedied that today (he got new boots from Wal-Mart). I put Matt down for bed, and as I've been doing the past few nights, I laid on the bed in his room. I fell asleep with him at 8:30 for the night. Sweet!
Tonight,after going to Wal-Mart we went to Peter's drive through for dinner and stopped off at the Melchin's for the evening. Sean was preparing for his priesthood lesson tomorrow, and we had an interesting discussion on the "key to the knowledge of God." We've been taught previously that the key to the knowledge of God is the covenants and ordiances of the priesthood, and Sean is going to use President Faust's talk from the October 2004 priesthood session of general conference. Sean is gives a very well prepared, uplifting, inspired lesson. I look forward to it.
I've been reading the "Miracle of Forgiveness" by President Spencer W. Kimball. It's the classic LDS book on repentance and forgiveness. The more I read the book, the more I'm interested to learn about President Kimball, he must have been a very pure, humble person. Tonight Cathy described him as being "without guile".
Friday, April 22, 2005
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
After dinner this evening, we took the kids to Leavitt's Ice Cream Shop. Dad, Kevin and Mason met us there. On the way we took a detour to the top of Canada Olympic park. I parked the car, and Gracie and I walked out and looked out over the city from the top of the hill. It was fun.
Lara has had a bit of a scare with her pregnancy, but fortunately everything is fine. Erin seems to be getting over her constant tired/sick feeling -- thankfully.
I had to stay with Matt for about 35 mintues this evening in order to get him to bed. I just sit and read in his room.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Friday morning of last week, Erin was woken by the sound of someone downstairs in the kitchen. It was Matt. He climbed out of his crib, opened his door and started roaming around the house.
He gets out a night too. He's decided that he doesn't like to go to bed anymore, so I've been putting Matt to bed for the past week or so. Up until last week, Matt would gladly go down -- his bedtime ritual consisted of turning on the humidifier, and turning off the lights. Now I've got to stay with him and rub his back, this process now takes about 15-30 minutes.
Mom and Dad, Kevin and Mason came over for dinner on Sunday. Elise stayed home with Porter who's significatly improved, but not well enough to leave the house yet. Erin made Chicken Taco Pie, everyone loved it.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
At age 21, Terry Fox began his "Marathon of Hope" in St. John's, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980. When he began there were only a few people who knew him or his cause; 143 days later most everyone in Canada knew him. Terry had a type of bone cancer, and his leg was amputated well above the knee.
I saw Terry's brother Darrell on TV this week -- Darrell pointed out something remarkable. He said that most people who run a marathon will train for months, and will take weeks to allow thier body to recover. Terry Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon everyday for 143 days. He did it with a prosthetic leg -- and cancer.
He ran over 5000 km's (more than half the distance of Canada), and eventually stoped outside Thunder Bay, Ontario because the cancer had spread to his lungs. To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over 360 million dollars for cancer research.
This week I've seen lot's of archived video tape of Terry Fox, and what impresses me most is that hope, and optimisim seemed to radiate from him.
Terry Fox is a hero.
"Some people can’t figure out what I’m doing. It’s not a walk-hop, it’s not a trot, it’s running, or as close as I can get to running, and it’s harder than doing it on two legs."
"I'm not a dreamer, and I'm not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.”
"If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope .”
Sunday, April 10, 2005
I got a modest bonus from work (a pleasant surprise I wasn't expecting), so I used part of it to replace the mainboard and hard drive on my home machine. I also added another gigabyte of memory. Kevin mentioned to me this evening that when he at WestWorld Computers before leaving on his mission (1996) the fastest computer processor was a 33 mHz, and the absolute most memory you could put in a computer was 32 megabytes. I now have two gigabytes of RAM in my computer -- which in 2005 is uncommonly large, I suspect that in five or ten years from now 2 gigabytes of RAM will be uncommonly small (if we use RAM at all).
Enough about computers...
Here's a brief recap of the past thirty days: We leased a van, we drove to Utah, we found out Erin is pregnant.
After thinking about it for some time, and doing a fair amount of research, we decided to lease a 2005 Pontiac Montana. It's quite a nice van (as far as mini-vans can be nice). It has a built-in DVD system -- which was a non-negotiable feature for Erin, and an automatic sliding passenger door. The rear seats also fold down. While driving, Gracie becomes quite engrossed watching DVD's (her current favorite is The Incredibles) -- Matt on the other hand couldn't care less. He sits with arms raised, and hands behind his head most of the time. Matt is extremely determined to do things for himself. For instance, he insists on buckling his carseat himself -- which is tough, because at his age he doesn't have the strenght or the dexterity to do it. Needless to say, getting in and out of the car has become moderately frustrating.
One of major influences in the decision to get the van was that we had decided to go to Utah to visit the Ritchie's and to attend general conference. We had assumed that the van (or better said, the DVD system) would make the 15 hour trip more palatable for the kids. The trip back to Calgary was better, but the trip to Utah was nigh unto unbearable. The DVD system did nothing for Matt, and Gracie kept getting frustrated because she couldn't fall asleep in her carseat. At one point all four of us were yelling. On the trip down, we learned a some things about the configuration of the van (ie: tilting the seats back to promote comfortable sleeping), and the trip home was much more enjoyable.
Utah was fun. For the first time I felt like I could live there. The weather was great -- the community that Brad and Amy live in seems really nice, everything just seemed good. The kids had fun with thier cousins. Gracie and Annie got along quite well. Gracie was over-stimulated most of the time, and was frequently given to tears -- but she had a good time nontheless. Matt did quite well with his afternoon naps but struggled a bit with nighttime. The sun was up early and shone into the room we stayed in, waking Matt up at 6:00 AM the first few mornings we were there.
Almost all of the Calgary group got sick while in Utah. It started with Lara, then Erin and Melinda, then me, then the kids.... We were introduced to a cold remedy called "Airborne", which seemed to work quite well.
While in Utah, I worked on a website for Brad for a couple of days, and on Thursday we skied Brighton. I was almost at the peak of my sickness on the Wednesday before, and had decided not to go, but when I woke up to 47" of new snow in the mountains, and a perfectly blue sky, I reconsidered how sick exactly I was. On Friday, I paid the price. The skiing was great, some of the best I can remember.
Conference was nice. It's really something to be in the Conference Center. I attended the Saturday afternoon and Priesthood sessions. This is my third time attending conference in the Conference Centre, and it still impresses me. It's quite remarkable to hear the hum of 20,000 people come to a complete silence at the first appearance of the prophet. The sound of 20,000 folding seats -- closing almost instantaneously -- followed by utter quite, is quite unique. I can't think of any other place or event where that many people can be that quite, and show that much respect. The congregation rises to it's feet, and becomes silent before the prophet can make more than two steps into the room.
One of the highlights of the trip was getting to spend some time with David Stratton Waite. We met him for dinner on Tuesday evening at the Macaroni Grill. It was great to see him again. He tolerated the noise of the kids, and the constantly interupted conversations for about an hour, then we finally gave up and determined to meet again another night without the kids. So, on Thursday after skiing, David and I went out for dinner and got a chance to catch up. Getting together with David is quite intersting -- he's got a way about him. I can't explain it, but somehow even though we don't get a chance to speak to each other more than once or twice a year, and even though we don't spend time together in person more than every three or four years -- somehow, when we are together, it's like we've never been apart. I've often thought that the bond we created as missionary companions, is somehow stronger than all the time we've spent apart. We spoke about family, work, books, church, future plans. It was great. David is great.
Lastly, Erin is pregnant. Though I hadn't planed on an exact date, nor had Erin and I really spoken about it, I've been feeling like it was time for us to have another child. Number three is kind of intimidating, but I'm sure it will be great. Erin is starting to become quite ill -- moreso than I remeber with Gracie or Matthew. She's nauseated and tired most of the time. I hope we can all make it.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
We had ward conference today. The stake presidency spoke, Rick gave a very nice talk (as usual). To be honest, the most noteable part of the day was sitting in Sunday school with Erin. We haven't done that for well over two years. One of Erin or I are out with one of the kids (or teaching primary). Matthew stayed in nursery by himself -- remarkable! He got a little homesick near the end, but genrally speaking he did pretty well. Hopefully this becomes a trend.
We went over to the Freibergs place tonight to celebrate Sommer's seventh birthday. I can't belive she is seven years old. I remember very clearly the night she was born. Erin was over at her folks place, and I was studying for an accounting exam that I thought for sure I was going to fail (but didn't). Sean, Rick and I had a nice Sunday evening discussion while the girls watched the Academy Awards.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
On Tuesday of this week (Feb 15), Elise was admited to the hospital after her water broke in the middle of the night. The next day she delivered Porter Bryce Wolff, roughly two months early. The baby weighed just over 3 pounds. Initially everything looked well (given the situation), but sometime Wednesday evening the baby was transfered to the neonatal intensive care unit, and his health got steadily worse.
We were initially told he contracted pneumonia as a result of being born with strep, and that he wasn't producing enough white blood cells to beat the illness on his own. As is the case with many pre-mature babies, he also wasn't breathing on his own. Over the past few days he's had all sorts of trouble. His kidneys aren't working properly and he's having siezures regularly. Despite all this (and with the aid of life-support) he's hanging on to life even now.
Elise and Kevin are really hurting -- there have been alot of "lows" over the past few days. Our family has shed many tears over this situation, and we've prayed alot. Kevin and Elise are wrestling with the decision to instruct the doctor to remove the life support systems. We were with them over at mom and dad's house this evening, and talked about the decision with them. Kevin says that he feels some measure of peace when he thinks about discontinuing life support, but the very thought of it is extremely difficult. Erin and I can only imagine.
Erin and I went to the temple on Saturday with the ward. I had a hard time concentrating. We read "The Peacegiver" in the car on the way there and back. I was touched by the authors description of the several facest of the atonement of Christ -- very touched. It's quite hard to put into words, but I learned (among many other things) somewhat of how the atonement heals heartache and pain, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about this, especially in light of Kevin and Elise.
I'm sure Kevin and Elise have fasted and prayed as earnestly and sincerely about this situation as anything they've ever fasted and prayed about in thier whole lives. Kevin told me this evening that he feels no strong revelation over what to do. Grandpa Melchin once taught us that when the Lord doesn't reveal to us what we should do, perhaps we should be asking what we should learn from bearing the burden. What are Kevin and Elise to learn from this? What am I to learn from this? I'm not entirely sure, but I have certainly seen remarkable growth in Kevin over the past few days. He is growing in a way that comes only those who suffer this type of heartache. Tonight he said that he's learned what's important in life and what's not. By observation, I've learned this too.
I wish I had happier things to write about tonight. I wish that Kevin and Elise were doing thier normal Sunday evening family visit routine. I sincerly hope that we all can be changed for the good because of this.
More than once, while feeling sad, I've had the thought that there are worse things that are happening around the world today -- more hurtfull, more painfull things even than a very sick infant. After reading The Peacegiver I am reminded that Christ not only suffered the pain of sins of the world, and also for all of the pain caused to others because of these sins -- but He also suffered all the heartache of mortality -- and becasue of this suffering, He, and He alone, has power to heal our hearts no matter what mortal pain we suffer.
May He heal Kevin and Elise's heartache.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Grace has figured out how to lock and unlock all the interior doors in the house. Evertime I go into a room, I'm stopped by a locked door. She's very excited when I ask her to come unlock the door. To be honest, it's starting to drive me crazy. She's so cute though.
We've been looking pretty seriously at a minivan recently. Since August we've had only one car, and it's been very tough. We'll be going to Salt Lake for general conference in April, and we'll be driving, so we have to have a minivan by then. I never really know wheather it's better to lease or buy -- so far I'm kind of looking a buying a used Honda Odysey or Toyota Sienna. But leasing a new vehicle definatly has its benefits also.
Last weekend (February 4-5) I went on a bit of a skiing "get-away" with Sean, Jeff Shipley and Dustin Thompson. One of Sean's patients kindly offered Sean his ranch home just outside of Radium. The place was fantastic. We skiied Kicking Horse the first day and Lake Louise the second day. The snow was pretty good both days, but the visibility at Kicking Horse was definatly poor. That said, Kicking Horse had great terrain and deep snow. It was fun to get to know Dustin and Jeff a little bit better.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Erin and I stayed in on Friday evening. We played with the web camera, Melinda and Micheal were on the other end. I couldn't make my computer microphone work, so M&M couldn't hear us, but we could hear them. Rick and Cathy stoped by to drop off one of Rick's broken work computers for me to look at. Cathy was amazed at the web camera.
Saturday afternoon we looked a mini-van's. They're so expensive. I'd really like Erin to have one -- it's been very tough to share a car these last few months. I hope we can get everthing in order to get a van for Erin. Gracie and Matt sayed with Rick and Cathy while we looked at vans. When we returned to pick up the kids, Gracie was quite teary. In the car on the way home she complained of a hurting ear, then of a hurting cheek, then hurting nose. She cried a very painfull, confused cry that only young children can cry when they're hurt and they don't understand why. It was so sad.
Saturday evening we went to the Gedlaman's place to celebrate Mike's thirty-ninth birthday. The same group of people were there as have been there for the past three years: Brad and Shelly Harker, Larry and Liana Kearl, Derek and Julie Kearl and Erin and I. I really enjoy Mike's birthday parties -- one of the few social outings I actually look forward to. Mike always prepares a very high end cut of beef, and Serena makes a tasty desert.
Sunday was a sick day -- for me included. None of us went to church. I got up and went to my early meetings then came home and had a nap. I woke up in time to go to Jesse Potrie's missionary farewell in the Rockyview ward. He gave an excellent report to the high council and a very good talk in sacrament meeting. Jesse is a young man who has been very well prepared.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Gracie's party was quite fun. She invited 16 of her closest friends -- it was a hectic gathering to say the least. 16 four and five year-old's in the same room for an hour and a half proves quite tiring. I have to admit... I had a lot of fun though.
Gracie is becoming such a little girl. She is maturing, and quite fun to be around. I took her ice skating the other night -- she had so much fun! Lately she's discovered how to lock and unlock the bedroom/bathroom doors. Every door in the house is locked.
I've been very disturbed with the images I've seen in the news and conjured in my mind of all the loss and personal suffering undergone by the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. I've come near to tears on a couple of occasions when I think of all the four year old girls who are now withought parents. I find myself hugging Gracie and telling her how much I love her many times a day.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Monday, January 10, 2005
Erin and I sat down with dad this evening to update our insurance.
We had stake priesthood meeting last night. The stake presidency did very well -- Rick, as usual, gave a very good talk. President Seidel spoke about following the prophet; I missed a good part of President Heningers talk because I was doing the count. President Melchin spoke about the upcoming 2005 Alberta Centennial, and how we should celebrate the year by inviting those around us to find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Of note was a double quartet of young men who performed twice. They were spectacular. I don't know all of the young men who participated, but I saw Pat Gilchrest & Daniel Murdock and three of the Matthews boys. To be honest, they were excellent.
I still don't have things quite worked out with work with respect to the new ownership. I'm hopefull to have everything resolve this week -- that's what I've been saying for the past three weeks though -- maybe this week. I'm going to Toronto this week for a couple of days to meet some of the exsisting IT staff, and hopefull come to some consensus regarding the future direction of IT for the organization.
Friday, January 07, 2005
This statement nicely articulates a sentiment I've had for a very long time but haven't been able to express. I've often wondered about the scriptural phrase, "no beginning and no end". I think it's a pretty difficult concept for our mortal minds to understand. No beginning? How is that possible? Everything has a begining... doesn't it?
"Carl Sagan in Cosmos raised the possibility that if you traveled downward
into an electron, you might find that it contained a universe of its
"Within it, organized into the local equivalent of galaxies and smaller
stuctures which are themselves universes at the next level and so on forever --
an infinite downward regression, universes within universes, endlessly.
And upward as well."
The closest I've come to understanding the concept of "no beginning" is to consider a simple illustration. (Keep in mind that every example I can come up with applies the abstract concept to some concrete thing, i.e. space or time...)
Imagine cutting a standard piece of 8.5" X 11" paper in half; now, discard one of the halves and cut the remaining half into half again. Discard one of the halves and cut the remaining half in half again. Repeat this process infinitely. You may think that eventually you are left with nothing... but this can never be. By definition you are only ever cutting the paper in half, and therefore you will always have half of what you had previous to the cut. Always! Theoretically, the cutting never stops because you're always left with one half of what you started with.
Obviously this illustration breaks down when considered practically, i.e., we don't have tools to cut paper in half infinitely -- eventually the paper becomes too small to handle properly. But consider the example with respect to the concept of no beginning and no end. It is conceptually possible to spend the rest of eternity cutting a single 8.5" X 11" in half. No end.
Now I admit this next part requires a bit of a mental leap, but I haven't been able to verbalize it any other way yet. Compare the paper cutting example above to tracing back to the beginning of the piece of paper -- not the day the paper came out of the mill, but rather the root of the paper ie: the exact point at which the paper ceases to occupy space, and instead there is a void. By cutting the paper in half in an attempt to get to this beginning... you will never get there, there will always be some infinitley small portion of the paper left. Effectively, there is no beginning. (I know, I know... it still needs some work -- but it make complete sense in my mind.)
Now another example.
Imaging that after cutting the paper into some ridiculously small halves, say 1 X 10-100 millimeters squared you were magically able to shrink yourself small enough such that the dimensions of the piece of paper were, in proportion your new miniscule size, 8.5" X 11". Keep this image in your mind... and gaze around you. Now look up into the space above you to the place where the enormous you once stood and consider how big you once were. It's basically unimaginable.
I think it's remarkable that 21st century astronomers look out into the heavens and see some very small fraction of the totality of space (if there is such a thing); similarly particle physicists stare into the most powerful electron microscopes mankind has ever devised, and observe only largest particles we know exist.
No beginning? No end? Definitely.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Had a centennial committee meeting last night. It went pretty well. Tom (Saunders) does a great job of bringing people together. I'm also quite impressed with Ian Miller -- he's very well spoken, and quite agressive with the issues he's passionate about. To some that can come off as bulldog-ish, I don't take it that way at all -- infact, I quite appreciate it.
We had terrible snow today. Winter seems to be catching up with us finally.
The servers at work crashed today, and I spent most of the morning trying to bring them back up. Because of the problem I missed a tour at the NE center for my new coleagues at LifeMark. Oh well.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Erin and I went to the stake new year's eve party. It was quite fun -- dramatically different from previous years. The stake has always struggled accomodating the various age groups at this type of a party, mostly because new-year's parties are typically dances. That was changed this year.
Of course there was dancing, but there was a bunch of other stuff too. We had various games, ping-pong, fuseball, video games, Rook, karaoke, blow-up sumo wrestling, a commedian, magician and a blow up obsticle course. I'd say there was approximatly 300 people there -- quite well attended. Erin and I both had fun. Kevin and Elise went to a movie with mom and dad, then they joined us after the movie.
We've been watching the television for the past few days, keeping up with the terrible Tsunami disaster in Sri-Lanka, Indonesia and surrounding areas. As of this writting more about 150,000 people have died. It's definatle the most catastrophic event of 2004, likely in the last 25 years or more. The world community has rallied around the surviors and made some substantial donations. President Hinckley has asked the church to fast for the families of the victims, and to make a generous contribution to the church's relief efforts. It's remarkable to think that during the September 11, 2001 terroist attacks on the United States approximately 4000 people were killed -- this Tsunami in the Indian Ocean has taken rougly 40 times as many lives.
This year I resolve to keep the resolutions I set last year. Do it this year for heaven's sake!