Saturday, June 30, 2007

Erich @ 18 months

Those of you who have seen Erich lately will know how much he has grown both physically and cognitively.  It amazes me everyday how fast he picks up new words and phrases.  He now readily recognizes things - not just specific things, but can classify them even if they look similar.  For example, when I was setting up the tripod for this shot, he pointed at the tripod and said "camera" because he knew that it was associated with the camera.

Recently I was thinking of how best to capture Erich's growth.  I've been meaning to start a family tradition - you know how some families pass down a patch quilt or blanket.  Well, I'm not much of a sewer, so a patch blanket is really out of the question.  But I am a photographer and what better way to express it than through portraits!  But how do I encapsulate all the years so that Erich only ever has to look at one portrait at a time to see how much he's grown?  Well, turns out I'm also a programmer and in programming there's this little thing called recursion.

I don't know if you remember, but a few years back HP had these commercials where someone would take a photo holding another photo.  That gave me an idea to start a new tradition:

Every six months, I will do a portrait of Erich of him holding his portrait - hopefully set with some of his favorite things at the time.

Here's the first one.  I've kept it minimalist on purpose.  Since this is the first, I had him hold the montage of his picture at ~7/8 months and a picture of the day he was born.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Congratulations to Renee and Nathan Derksen!

I have finally gotten around to posting this. We went to visit the Derksen's just over a week ago to see their newborn baby boy Ethan Derksen! I managed to take a few photos before my camera battery died. (Hate it when that happens!)

Congratulations you two! Ethan is such a cutie and he could not have been born to more loving parents. :)

Reflections on Fatherhood

So it was Father's Day again last Sunday, and to be honest I'm not entirely sure what to think of it - I am still trying to find my role as a father I guess. This is not to say I do not enjoy being a father. I love being Erich's dad. I am overjoyed, for instance, when I come home and Erich runs down the hall to greet me with a gigantic hug. I love to hear him talk, and I love reading him bedtime stories. But, I am talking more on a spiritual level. I find that as I mature into the role of being a father, I am also reflecting on what it means to be father.

I have often meditated on the parable of the prodigal son and contemplated which character I most relate to. As I think was Jesus' intention when he told the parable, I find myself identifying with each character as I go through the course of life.

In the past, I often found myself relating to each of the sons. In my youth, I could relate with the prodigal son who wanted to distance himself from his parents and wanted to try things on his own. As I matured and especially when I experienced the separation of my parents in my 20s, I related much more to the elder son who seemingly 'did everything right' and despised the wayward ways of the younger son. In perhaps a great ironic twist, for me that wayward son was my father. It wasn't fair (I have often thought) that I should have to stay around to clean up this mess that my dad left around particularly when he is supposed to be the father.

But the funny thing was the more I despised, the more I also felt like the younger son again - determined to strike it out on my own and "make it" despite my circumstances. Also, like the younger son, making it on your own isn't always so glorious and so I have often contemplated what life would be like in the loving arms of a dad who truly loves me.

Nowadays, I find myself going through yet another change in who I identify with. As I adjust to my new role as a father, I find myself reexamining all that I think a father should be, and trying to sort out what things are as they should be and what things are merely a longing and a reflection of what I did not have as a child. It is interesting to say the least. For example, I dream about bringing Erich on father-son only camping trips and doing dad things but mostly things I cannot do with him until he is much older. I often wonder if this is because those are some of the positive things of my childhood and therefore things I long for? Then reality strikes and I have to convince myself to think of things that would be great things to do with him now at his present age.

Other things I am also learning: how to be a compassionate and loving father yet manage the art of discipline? There are times when I can't wait to "spoil" Erich and go to great lengths to find him a new toy or something to make him smile. There are other times (particularly when he is mr. cranky-i-haven't-gotten-my-nap-today pants) when I have just about had enough. Then, there are those times when he will do something he knows is wrong, but does it anyway after deciding that the consequences are 'worth it'.

Of course, from a Christian standpoint, these are also things that our Abba Father has to deal with from us! Oh how I admire how He does it! And I guess, in the end, that is what gives us comfort - the ability to look up, see and call on the perfect example of Fatherhood. :)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
- 1 Peter 1:13-17 NIV

Friday, June 22, 2007

Aquaventures Swimming with Erich and Elias

Erich and Elias have been attending a swim class for the past few weeks at the AquaVentures aquatic centre in Kitsilano. They specialize in swimming classes for kids, and every Friday, Karen, Mom and Hans have been taking them there. Today was the last class of the session, so I took an early lunch, and went down there for about 20 minutes to take a few (umm ok ~70) pictures of them.

Here's a shot that I love - Erich's expression says it all. He is such the brave soul!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hans' Birthday

For Hans' Birthday this year (my father in law), we took him out to Kalamata Greek Restaurant (yes, greek again!) for dinner. The kids were of course very happy to see their Opa again, so they were a little hyper. We managed to get them calm enough for a photo or two though (below).

After dinner, we went back to our place where we enjoyed the delicious German chocolate cake that Eddie Wong baked for us! He even went to the trouble of writing Happy Birthday in German. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag indeed!

Here are some additional photos we took:

Here's the obligatory family photo. We took this using our Canon Powershot G2 camera with a remote. Not the greatest shot but what is interesting is to see is Erich's instant reaction to the camera. He knew we were taking a shot so he turned and smiled. :)
Here is Hans posing with the kids:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day at Lonsdale Quay

For Father's Day, we all went out to Lonsdale Quay and had a great time eating Greek takeout and playing in the kids area. As Erich went about the play area, we noticed that he was making funny scrunchy smiley faces. (This usually means that he is going poopoo.) Karen and I looked at each other with the "aw man, now?" look because of course, Karen had just changed his diaper moments ago. Well, Erich continued on for a few minutes, and when he finished, he looked at us with a big smile and said "(sigh) Better!". Karen and I could not contain our laughter. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Erich attempts to put on his own PJs

In his never ending quest to assert his independence, Erich has been trying to do thing by himself that we used to do for him such as putting on his PJ pants after a bath. The first time he did this we thought it was so funny that we had to film it the second time.

The video is pretty self explanatory, but in essence Erich attempts to "step into" the pants but instead ends up walking and amusing himself (and us!).

Blog Binge-ing

Apologies to those who have been following this blog. I know I haven't been updating lately. I've had a bad case of blog binge-ing. Life has just all of a sudden gotten very busy. Apart from the weddings and graduations we've been to in recent weeks, Erich has fallen sick with his first ear infection, and I've just spent the last weekend resorting all of our baby stuff. At the end of the day, I am often so tired, the last thing I want to do is sit myself in front of the computer and write another blog post... so they haven't been written when they were supposed to have been and I find myself writing and backdating them in binges. Hopefully that means I'm all caught up now, and will once again be able to concentrate on just writing one post at a time! Wish me luck.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Happy Grad Justin and Grad photo shoot

Congratulations to Justin Conner on his high school graduation and on his award for being an encouragement to his classmates (see photo). For those who do not know Justin, he plays bass on the Bridge worship band, and is always a pleasure to be around.

Karen, Erich and I had the privilege of attending his graduation ceremony today at Fraserview MB Church. It was held for the graduating class of Richmond Christian Secondary School. We hadn't been to a high school graduation in quite a while (the last one being Sam, Ming-Yan, Clara, Deborah from CCCC). We were secretly thankful that this graduating class only had 36 people in it, so the ceremony length was bearable. (In contrast, my graduation class had over 900 the poor graduate whose last name began with Z....)

I also had the opportunity to take some graduation photos of Justin a few weeks back along some abandoned railroad tracks in Kitsilano. Here are some shots from that shoot.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Congratulations Danielle and Josh!

After Healthy Kids' Day, we dropped off Erich at Grandma and Grandpa's place before heading off to our first wedding without Erich! It was situated on top of Grouse Mountain, with the beautiful scenery of Vancouver as the backdrop.

The ceremony was very moving, particularly when Danielle and Josh said their vows to each other (as shown in photo). It is great to see these two married. We wish them the very best and look forward to encouraging them in their marriage. They are currently in Greece for their honeymoon. You can follow their adventures here.

Healthy Kids Day - YMCA

We had a fun time at the very busy Healthy Kids Day at Vancouver's South slope YMCA. There were giant playgrounds held up by air compressors - but much to Erich's chagrin, he was still too young for many of them. The only one he was eligible for, he was not too impressed!

So, we took him to the other part of the event. The Vancouver Fire department had a truck there for people to see. Erich really enjoyed seeing the truck. He examined that truck from top to bottom. He got to sit in the driver's seat, as well as look at all of the hoses and valves.