Sunday, December 19, 2010

Verzichten (to do without)

For the last little while (few months) I've been eyeing Android phones. Now the phone I've been waiting for came out in the states and I have an opportunity to get friends to bring me one across the border. The dilemma is that this would put me back $600-$700 which is quite a bit since we just bought a house.

Carol knows how much I've been wanting one of these so she said she'd strike a deal: I get the phone but don't get anything else until we do the first largish renovation in our place (which she really wants). This didn't strike me as fair since she's always cheap and I always end up getting the expensive things I want. So I changed the deal and told her that I should hold off on a smartphone until we've done the first largish reno. This is fair.

This brings me to the point of this post (if anyone is still reading after these two paragraphs). The point is that we have so much stuff and usually just get whatever we want. In the "developed" world we don't usually know what it means to forgo something. We're like kids. The more toys we get the less we value the toys we already got. For me this means that forcing myself to forgo a smartphone for the near future means that I realize I actually have a lot of "stuff" to play with. There's the camera, the guitars, projects around the house. When we actually forgo one thing we might realize that what we have is already more than enough, maybe even too much.

I should really value my stuff more instead of letting it catch dust in a corner.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gabriel's 4th month

Gabriel is now 4 1/2 months old already. It's crazy. When I look at old pictures and videos of him its apparent how much he's changed.

Some areas are getting better. He sleeps through the night now most of the time. He can entertain himself for a few minutes now and when you sit beside him sometimes even longer. He's also good with only four feedings in a day. All those things are pretty great.

Some areas are getting worth, though. His cradle cap (and maybe psoriasis?) and his eczema are pretty bad. Last night he scratched himself so much that half his scalp was covered in blood and the skin was pretty much raw. He sleeps with socks now. We're also not looking forward to the teething stage which could start anytime now.

Overall he's good though despite the worries and the tiredness. Below you'll find some more pictures of him. Enjoy.

The album:

2010 Gabriel 4th Month

A selection of the images:

A sleeping baby makes his parents happy.

A proud mommy.

A happy baby makes his parents happy, too.

Enjoying life to the fullest. In fact he does everything to the fullest. There is no subtlety with this child.

Looking all tough.

Wearing a turban which is really a hat and gauze so his scalp heals again after the major scratches.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gabriel's 2nd & 3rd months

Gabriel grew and changed a lot, for the better. He's interactive now, smiling at you, trying to talk. He'd also like to walk if he could.

You'll find new pictures at

2010 Gabriel 2nd Month

2010 Gabriel 3rd Month

Following is a small sample of pictures.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The futility of most prayers

"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."
~ St. James (James 4:3)

I daresay most people ask with wrong motives most of the time. God's not a heavenly vending machine.

My faith has been thoroughly shaken by this. God transcends our petty prayers. He is. Period. It doesn't matter whether we receive what we pray for. Indeed if most of our prayers are wrong it's a waste of time and energy to pray them.

Most answered prayers mean nothing and shouldn't be used to strengthen our faith in God. Most unanswered prayers mean exactly as little and shouldn't be used to discredit our faith. We believe in God because He is. Nothing more, nothing less. Every other ground is sinking sand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gabriel Wentland

Gabriel Wentland was born July 23rd, 2010 at North York General Hospital. Since then he's caused mom and dad a lot of stress and joy.

You can read more about the labour & delivery at Carol's blog:

The run-down is: baby and mom are healthy. Still for quite a while baby had problems breastfeeding and never got enough and always was cranky. Today we got an appointment at the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic ( where they helped us tremendously with breastfeeding, discovered Gabriel had a tongue tie and cut it. Now he feeds well and is a happy and quiet little camper.

Following are a few pictures of Gabriel. You can find more at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 San Francisco Day 4

The next morning we started the day by having breakfast, getting in the car and driving south. We read that the stretch down to Big Sur was beautiful and were definitely not disappointed. It was absolutely breathtaking.

I stopped and got out of the car to take pictures way too many times. Every once in a while we saw these birds circling along the coast. Not sure if they were eagles but it looked pretty cool.

We passed the well-known and picturesque Bixby Bridge, near Big Sur, but not without taking yet more pictures.

Miles and miles of awesomeness.

When we got to Big Sur we decided that we would keep going to this castle of which we'd seen a brochure. It looked pretty magnificent in the pictures so we figured it'd be worth it. We figured it wouldn't take too long since we were already half way. That proved like a bad miscalculation. The road was so windy that we couldn't go faster than 35 mph for most of the stretch.

Once we got close to Hearst castle we noticed all these people stopping by the side of the road and saw some seals. Then we came to a parking lot that was beside a beach that was packed with elephant seals. Definitely a worthwhile sight that we didn't plan.

It looked pretty awesome but you didn't want to get too close. The smell was anything but pleasant.

Finally we arrived at Hearst castle, had a burger and fries for lunch while constantly shoo-ing the crows away, and then went up on a tour of the castle.

Apparently this newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst built the castle which was sort of his life long dream on land that he inherited from his parents. It's absolutely magnificent and definitely rivals European castles. You can read on it at wikipedia.

It looked almost like being in Italy or Spain.

We were joking that we'd tell people this was our hotel room:

The view was pretty stunning. Ocean on one side, green hills on the other.

The main reception area had antiquities from all over the world.

The walls of the movie theater looked like a scene from Indiana Jones. Pretty awesome.

All mosaic tiles, many of them gold-plated in this indoor pool. Wish we could've swam there.

After the tour and a long drive back we actually made it in time to see the sunset in Carmel. We stopped at Safeway, bought some sausage, cheese and bread and then sat down at the beach waiting for the sunset. It was a lot of fun.

2010 San Francisco Day 3

It's been a while since I updated pictures on our California trip. I've just gotten lazy. Anyways, here's day 3.

On the third day we rented a car and started driving down Hwy 1 to Monterey.

One of the nicest places on the road was probably the natural bridges park in Santa Cruz.

Since we still had time we figured we'd check out Santa Cruz. We ended up walking through the shopping district a bit and then had coffee at Peet's which I thought was an independent shop until I saw them everywhere in California. Very yummy lattes, though.

After another hour or so of driving we arrived in Monterey at our motel. It was dark, the fireplace was a little sketchy, the toilet was leaking but we had two queen size beds which meant we'd get a good nights rest again.

For dinner we went to the Fishwife's Turtle Bay Taqueria. You order your food at the counter and then take a turtle with your number back to your table. No, not a real turtle. At that restaurant I had my first horchata. It's a very delicious Mexican drink made out of rice, water, cinnamon and sugar.

On our way back to the motel we noticed this store.

The reason it caught our eye was that our friend's daughter is named Kaiya. They apparently vacationed in Northern/Central California when they were expecting her. Is this coincidence? I have yet to ask them.

As we were walking back we decided to hop in the car and drive to Carmel to see if we could still catch the sunset over the Pacific ocean. So we did but arrived a few minutes too late. Everyone was just leaving the beach. It was still pretty gorgeous and we decided that we'd try it again next night.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 San Francisco Day 2

On Sunday we started the day with free breakfast at the hotel and then went to take the legendary San Francisco cable car to the Fisherman's Wharf, since that's what tourists do.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

After walking around in the rain and buying tickets for the Alcatraz tour we decided we'd go and have some Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl. On the way we picked up some lovely blue rain ponchos to keep us from getting absolutely soaked.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

We saw these sourdough bread creations at Boudin's where we then had some Clam Chowder.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

After the Clam Chowder we went out to see the crookedest street, Lombard Street in San Francisco. Apparently it used to be a normal two-way street but since it was two steep they eventually redesigned the street. Now it's one-way and curves back and forth.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

Many houses in San Francisco are plenty colourful.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

We still had time left and were cold and wet so Starbucks was the place to be until we had our tour of Alcatraz. Here we fixed our footwear. Carol had the awesome idea to wear plastic bags inside our shoes so our feet wouldn't get so wet. It worked really well. On one foot Carol's socks were too wet already so she wrapped them in tissue paper first before tying the plastic bag around it.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

Finally our tour starts and after a short ferry ride (think Toronto Island ferries) we arrive at the Island and start our trek to the top.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

(If you follow the link to the pictures you'll find many more pictures of Alcatraz and our trip.)

The audio tour on Alcatraz is quite amazing. I never thought highly of audio tours but the Alcatraz tour changed my perception entirely. One thing I found neat is how they showed how many inmates would try to make the cell their little home and do art, music or even knit to keep themselves entertained.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

People could see the city from the prison but had no way to participate in its life. It must've been one of the hardest things.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

After half of our tour on Alcatraz the rain stopped and we got some amazing views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

From 2010 San Francisco Day 2

We got back to our Hotel wet and tried. For dinner we ended up at an Italian place on Powell near Geary called Bellini after again being told that the wait for The Cheesecake Factory was one hour.