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Journal Entries for September 2010
August 28, 2010 - 8:47 PM
No Parking
Do as I say, not as I do.

I came across this police car parked RIGHT beside a no parking sign. Scenarios like this are among the reasons I carry a camera on my person at all times. It begs the question, when the police break the law, who do you call?

Baby Pictures
An endless source of inspiration.
On a much lighter note, I took some pictures today and wanted to share them with you.

Some old friends of the girls were in town this week for day camp at Fish Creek Park. They used to live in Calgary, but then moved to BC. Since then, however, we've stayed in touch and the girls have had several sleepovers whenever one family is close enough to make a visit.

Alright, it's a silly picture, but I love my green grass.

Alright, we can ride it, but how do you steer?

This is what happens when you try to drain a tank full of sour soothers with a vacuum truck. I came across this vehicle which appears to have imploded! I'd love to hear the story on this one...

Everyone asks about the twins, so here's some new pictures of them. It's amazing to see their personalities develop — and they are quite different from each other. What's also fascinating to watch is their interaction with each other. There is an awareness it seems, of each other, and at times I can't help but wonder if they're playing little games. Her in particular, she seems to have a bit of an antagonistic personality, demonstrated by her poking and proding of him with her flailing arms, and on one occasion she continued to grab the soother from his mouth, causing him no shortage of angst, until we put them out of each other's reach. I'm sure these antics are only the beginning.

September 18, 2010 - 10:54 AM
Is Everything.
My son's hand clasping my thumb

Time flies. We've heard it said, most of us have probably said it ourselves. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day my life would forever be changed by a mutual decision enacted upon by two people who have decided that their lives are better together than they are apart. One year ago I married my wife, (a natural choice for a person to marry) and today I look back upon the past year to reflect.

First of all, I feel horribly under-prepared for this day. On the one hand, I know it's just another day, babies need to be fed, kids need to be looked after and the house needs to be kept in some sort of semblance of tidiness. On the other hand, I also know that the anniversary is a big day to the women, and I want to make this a special one. But it's the first. And being a first of something usually means that not every "T" will be crossed and not every "I" will be dotted. Sitting here in the kitchen amidst the morning's dishes which have yet to be put away, I realize that I did not have a plan for this day. Life keeps on happening, at a whirlwind's pace, and here we are. The babies are sleeping, the girls are playing, and Kristi is enjoying a rare opportunity to sleep in. Fortunately for me, she is very low maintenance - an excellent quality in a wife if you're ever in the market. Mark that one down and put a star beside it.

While I might not be the best at planning first year anniversaries, I have learned a few things about life, marriage, and myself over the past year, and I'd like to discuss a few of these things here.

Dating Life vs. Married Life
How to tell the difference
My chin rested gently on her shoulder. Her cheek felt incredibly smooth and warm against mine. My arms were wrapped around her, folded hands resting on her tummy. Words like 'cozy', 'content', and 'comfortable' would have all been applicable. Then, in that moment of bliss she broke the silence with a soft, tender voice. "Hun", she purred, "would you do something for me?" In such a pure moment I would have agreed to almost anything without question. "Of course, my dear, anything." "The toilet downstairs is clogged..." And that's when I realized: We aren't dating anymore...

Things I've Learned in the Last Year
A Year's worth of Wistom in Review
If in doubt, clean something. Cleaning is not in my nature. Ask Bo, I was not a tidy roommate. Organization has never come easy to me. I struggle to achieve it, and have an even harder time maintaining it. Yet one of the first things I learned in being married to Kristi was that her state of mind, indeed her very emotional well-being and sanity was directly related to the state of the cleanliness and tidiness of her surroundings. If the house was a mess, floors dirty, counters unwashed, clutter everywhere, she'd get stressed, worked up, and become generally irritable. Yet when things were tidy, dishes clean and put away, flat surfaces wiped down and floor vacuumed, there was peace, serenity, and efficiency in her being. So whenever I didn't know what to do, particularly if I was in trouble for something — I learned that if I didn't know what else to do, clean something. If nothing else, it would occupy my time, but it was almost always credited to me as an act of service since she knows my background and history of a clean living space. When you do something that doesn't come naturally to you for the sake of your spouse, it communicates love to her. And when that act also helps restore their sanity, you both win!

Love is a choice. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a feeling, an emotion, a 'state of mind' - it is a conscious decision to put another person ahead of you. Sometimes it's hard. Now — don't get me wrong, it is very easy to love my wife. She is a tremendous partner, a caring and extremely competent mother, a well organized, thoughtful person who shines when she's glowing, burns when she's angry, devastates when she cries, and inspires when she loves you. Even so, can I look back on the past three hundred and sixty five days and say that every day I felt like I loved her at all times? Probably not, but thankfully love is not based on our emotions, it's based on our will. I choose to love her, even when the easier thing might be to put myself first. This is, after all, the natural inclination of all living beings. Realizing that love is a choice leads me into my next lesson learned:

Actions Preceed Our Emotions. It would be a very dismal world indeed if everyone based their actions on their emotions. How often do you suppose the phrase "I don't feel like it" would be used to inhibit action? Not only would the world come to a grinding halt, but I suspect most people would become intolerant of each other almost overnight. Emotions change like the direction of the wind. Instead, if we choose our course beforehand and let our emotions follow, we become much more steadfast people, and our emotions themselves will be less likely to flutter. As an added benefit of this approach, our emotional wellbeing will even be positively influenced by our resolve. Peace often accompanies a steadfast resolve. In acceptance lie'th peace as my mother always used to say.

Intentions do not Justify Outcome. This was a harder lesson to learn, but one which has both helped my marriage and my relationships with a lot of people in the past year. One afternoon Kristi and I were talking on the phone, and in the course of the conversation I made a comment about something. Immediately I felt her tense up on the phone, and she quite quickly expressed hurt and resentment over the comment I had made. Now I hate being misunderstood. Whenever something I've said has not come across the way I meant it to, I've always felt the need to explain myself to death, since I did not mean to offend by the words I spoke or wrote. In my mind, I used to believe that because I didn't mean to hurt someone, if they were in fact hurt it was because I had not properly explained myself to them — they did not understand my intention and therefore had it wrong. What I learned from Kristi that afternoon on the phone was that my intentions were irrelevant. What I said had in fact hurt, and now I needed to appologize for hurting her and go from there. It makes a lot of sense if you apply this lesson to just about any other context: Suppose I'm walking across a sidewalk and a car doesn't see me and runs over my foot. The driver immediately jumps out and yells, "Oh my, are you OK? I didn't mean to run you over... I didn't even see you there!" That may well be the case, but their wheel is still on my foot and I still need to go to the hospital. Their intentions were irrelivent. If they serve any purpose, it might be to make forgiveness easier. It would be much easier to forgive the driver who didn't see you and caused you harm than the one who mowed you down on purpose.

God Provides What We Need The Most, When We Need It Most. When I think of how different my life has been going from a bachelor living in the basement of a bungalow to that of a married man with four kids — it's hard not to describe this transitional period without using phrases like overwhelmed, off the deep end, unexpected, unprepared, and out of my element. Not only the change of living with one woman, but three at once. Never have I seen so many Polly Pockets or pink clothes in one place! And it's been incredible and rewarding and trying and exasperating and a learning experience unto it's own. I've gained a new insight into my own parents, having now become one myself. I've learned what it is to see the world through 5 and 7-year-old eyes again. I've felt the exasperation of not knowing why the babies are crying and worse - not knowing how to get them to stop. I've felt the joy of watching the girls go off to their first day of school. I've held them as they've cried, heard the glee of their joyful laughter when they play, laid down punishments when they disobey, and stood in awe as they figure out life on their own. And even though I've often felt as though I'd been thrown off the deep end, trying to deal with things I've never had to deal with before in my life, every time, without fail, God has been there, sustaining me, teaching me, taking care of me. It is no wonder he uses the father-son relationship in life to describe his relationship with us. And now, having children of my own opens the doors to a whole new level of understanding of that relationship. The joys, the pride, the heartache, the frustration, everything.

It's been a good year.

Me and the Babies

Two Goofs in Rusty

Sky Grass

Speaking of perspective...

Ambulance gets towed

Thanks for attending our emergency, but seriously - NO PARKING!

Big sisters feeding the babies

First day of grade 1

How my T-Shirts really get worn

Two Not-So-Sleepy Babies

Oh really?


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